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Abel contributes to strong volunteering culture in Shire of Waroona

22 August, 2023

Abel George, an Economics and Finance student at UWA, recently contributed 100 hours to strengthening volunteering culture in the Shire of Waroona, through a McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship.

Abel’s research internship supported the Shire of Waroona’s Project for Thriving Community Study, and tasked him with exploring volunteering in the Shire, gathering and analysing data from volunteers and community groups with the aim of introducing new ideas and strengthening volunteering activities.

“I went into my line of questioning very methodically and scientifically at the start, honing everything I learnt in my degree; however, as I continued speaking with people in the community, I realised my stories required more compassion and emotional connection, and I started to uncover the motivations of the people I was engaging with.

“Hearing these stories, and why these people chose to devote such a huge part of their life to helping the community really motivated me,” Abel said.

Abel said the research project could have a tremendous positive impact for the community.

“As the Shire strengthens the volunteering culture of the local community, there will be improvements for the lives of everyone in the community, and greater equity,

“Hearing the stories of the impact these volunteers have on the community really made me understand that if we can multiply these stories, we can change the culture of a community for the better; a community built on volunteering is a community with purpose and a purpose-driven community is ultimately a beacon of light to the communities around it,” he said.

Karen Oborn, Director Infrastructure and Development Services with the Shire and Abel’s internship supervisor, said that Abel’s contribution to the Project for Thriving Community study provided a foundation for further research projects into the program.

In addition to giving him an opportunity to make a real positive contribution to the community in the Shire, Abel acknowledged the unique development opportunities in research he gained through the experience.

“The internship provided me with an amazing amount of experience in qualitative analysis, which is not something that is taught much in my degree, and has thus broadened my knowledge and experience,

“Undertaking this internship has shown that I am determined and that I have initiative.”