Volunteers a ‘priceless resource’ to local communities

This year celebrates 30 years of National Volunteer Week, and while Georgia Stafford is younger than the celebration itself, she has many years of volunteering experience under her belt.

The 28-year-old said it was the community work she did with her parents as a child growing up in Millmerran that instilled in her the drive to always give back.

‘I wanted to make a difference in my community,’ Ms Stafford said. ‘But I discovered that community work also provided a sense of purpose and an opportunity for personal growth.’

The Toowoomba Young Citizen of the Year (2016), has been an active community member in the Toowoomba region for the past 10 years, regularly donating her time to South Toowoomba Apex Club, Rosie’s Friends of the Street, and Toowoomba Community Care Transport, and has raised over 100 kittens as an RSPCA Foster Carer.

She’s also the secretary for the South Toowoomba Apex Club, and the Treasurer for the Darling Downs and South Western Law Association, while co-founding Toowoomba Young Networking Professionals.

Despite her already busy schedule as a solicitor, Ms Stafford spends up to 10 hours each week helping her local community.

‘I find that the positivity and sense of achievement that comes with being a volunteer is a great way to balance the demands of a legal career,’ she said.

Ms Stafford is proud to be having a positive impact in her community through local projects.

‘My Apex Club set up a breakfast club at a local school that was struggling with poor attendance,’ she said.

‘Six months later, we were providing breakfast every school day to children who needed it, and the attendance rate increased by more than 30 per cent. Twelve months after the program began, the school’s NAPLAN results were the highest they had ever been.

‘Community events and services like this, would not be able to operate without the time and effort of generous volunteers.’

Ms Stafford is also part of the GCBF Committee, using her knowledge as an active community member and volunteer to provide advice on how to distribute GCBF grants to not-for-profit organisations.

‘I’ve seen firsthand that volunteering is a priceless resource to any local community—both as a volunteer and through my role as a GCBF Committee member,’ she said.

Ms Stafford is encouraging others to get involved in something they care about to not only make a difference in the lives of others, but also their own.

‘I believe that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those who are giving more,’ she said.

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others and your community.’

The GCBF is helping keep clubs and community groups alive by providing funding to improve local facilities, provide vital services, and purchase much needed equipment.