‘The Smile That It Brings’

Finding the right balance when making time for work, study, fun, family and friends, what you love and volunteering can seem like an impossible task… But who says it can’t be done?

This week SO had the chance to talk to Anne, a young graduate who crunches numbers as a profession, loves singing and is also passionate about volunteering. She’s even helped form HUB (Hands Up Brisbane), an initiative that aims to connect young women to others in their local communities through active service.

SO… Anne… Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am currently working as a full-time graduate accountant in Brisbane. I work in the area of business advisory where I prepare financial accounts and taxes for small businesses. Besides that, I also study part-time Masters degree in Applied Finance at Queensland University of Technology, which I hope to finish by the end 2018.

Whilst I mostly busy myself with money and numbers, in my spare time I sing and play guitar, watch cooking shows with my family, catch up with friends and do a lot of volunteering.

You helped form HUB (Hands Up Brisbane). What is it and what inspired you to do that?

HUB is an initiative by young women to help those in need by engaging with existing volunteering programs. It runs every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, which involves listening to guest speakers who have been working in the area of community service as well as physically going out to different places to volunteer in any possible way.

HUB came about because we saw the need for it. We realised that there is a need for young people to step up and do something great for others.

It is specifically intended for young volunteers because we believe that there is something special about young people. Many say “youth are the hope of the future”. Though for some this may sound like cliché, it is a truth that young people should ponder on. Young people have a lot to offer, they think and dream big and the world needs them!

So through HUB we hope to encourage young people to recognise and use their talents to make a difference in the community.

What are some of the most rewarding things about HUB? 

One of the most rewarding things about HUB is the smile that it brings to the people we help and to us volunteers. It gives us happiness to see that the hard work we put in organising HUB actually makes a lot of difference in people’s lives.

One experience that really touched our hearts was when a man thanked us for bringing food donations. He said, “You would not know how thankful I am until you yourselves experience living under a bridge”.

Everything that we do in HUB works two ways: we give and we receive. We give our time, friendship and talents and we receive hundredfold of wisdom and graces.

There is really a lot to learn from the people we encounter. It makes you see life in a much less complicated way because it gives you the opportunity to forget about yourself and focus on others.

Another rewarding thing about HUB is the friendship it fosters amongst us volunteers. When we get together for our volunteering projects, we have so much fun and we just laugh together. We organise fun outings together and I can say that HUB has really become a place of friendship where we try to look after one another and enjoy each other’s company.

Do you have a favourite activity that you’ve done with HUB?

My favourite activity with HUB was when we visited the Blind Eye Ministry drop in centre. It was a place where homeless people would go to get food and clothing. People who helped to set up this place were very friendly and would always wear smiles.

There was so much to learn from this place – the patience and understanding of the volunteers for the people who would come for help and the stories of the homeless people that would make you realise how much they need your time and friendship.

What was even more impressive about this drop in centre was that it was not only a place for supply of material goods, it was also a place where people’s talents and worth were recognised and valued.

Many of the people who came had been given the opportunity to share their talents- some recited their own poetry and some were also very good comedians who were able to entertain us with their funny jokes. It was indeed a worthwhile and fun experience.

What kind of projects are you most interested in? Why?

I am interested in everything. Each kind of project is unique and teaches you different things. This is why with HUB we try to expose ourselves to various types of service projects like nursing home visits, helping the homeless and spending time with disadvantaged kids.

What is your SO challenge for your readers in Australia and abroad? 

My SO challenge for readers in Australia and abroad is to believe in what they can do. A lot of times when we know that something has to be done we just stop with words and no action.

We always have a lot of ideas – we say that the poor should be fed, the elderly should be loved, the government should do something and etc. but we actually never do anything.

What stops us from making an action is that we think what we can offer is insignificant or can change nothing. This is not true! I’ve learnt over time that the world is like a huge theatre, where each one has a role to play.

Always remember that nobody else can do what you can do – neither the best charitable organisation in the world nor the richest man in the world, only you!

SO… if you think you should and can do something, do as what what Nike says “just do it!”

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