Ben’s Story ~ Company Secretary / Director, Volunteering Gold Coast May 16, 2023May 12, 2023 by Nicole Smith Making a Difference: Ben Naday Company Secretary / Director, Volunteering Gold Coast What attracted you to becoming a Board Member of Volunteering Gold Coast? I love Volunteering Gold Coast’s vision to have volunteering valued and embraced as a way of enriching our community and addressing disadvantage. Thousands of volunteers across the Gold Coast make a real difference in people’s lives and it’s important they are properly valued by our local community. Plus, the more we highlight the work of volunteers, the more people are inspired to give volunteering a go. How has volunteering helped you grow as a person? I’ve been a lifelong volunteer and volunteering has given me opportunities to grow my skills, confidence and relationships in ways that go beyond my professional life. Volunteering has also meant that I’ve been able to gain a deeper understanding of and stay connected with the community that I call home. Why is it important to support Volunteering? Volunteering focuses on the “we” not the “me”, and by supporting Volunteering we strengthen the community spirit that makes the Gold Coast such a great place to live, play and work. Can you share a specific moment or experience during volunteering that has left a lasting impact on you? The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires left a lasting impact on me, both as a volunteer firefighter attending fires with hundreds of other Australians to protect homes and lives and as a First Officer managing a Brigade and looking out for my team who was doing amazing work at a very tough time. That long few months showed me the power of locals coming together to help locals. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in volunteering but is unsure? Dive in and follow your passion – not every volunteering opportunity is perfect for everyone, but keep trying until you find the place where you can have maximum impact on your community and which brings you the greatest happiness. How important is Youth Volunteering on the Gold Coast? Young Gold Coasters are looking to make a difference in the world and many are still discovering exactly how they fit in, and volunteering can help them find that sense of place and purpose. Also, the skills you learn will enhance your confidence and the people you meet will broaden your horizon – and that’s so important when you’re a young adult. The practical work can also get you away from your phone for a while which I think is generally a good thing! Volunteering can be a life-changing experience, allowing individuals to connect with others, gain new skills and perspectives, and make a difference in their community. It provides an opportunity to step outside of oneself and contribute to something. And for those who may be feeling disconnected or lacking purpose, volunteering can give a sense of belonging and fulfillment. If you would like to volunteer you can read more about it on our website.