Volunteering in Australia is on the decline, according to a 2023 Volunteering Australia report with volunteers aged 18-24 falling by 11 per cent since 2019.
The reason for the decline is not that youths are reluctant to volunteer, it’s that other priorities, like finances and school work are higher on their priority lists.
Former volunteer Stephanie Duric, 19, said it was difficult trying to fit volunteering around paid work.
“I’m juggling three jobs at the moment and need every pay check I can get,” Ms Duric said.
“To put it simply, I couldn’t afford to miss out on work.”
Participants aged 18 to 34 years are 25.5 per cent more likely to report financial reasons for not volunteering, according to the study.
Ms Duric has represented Headspace at Sutherland Shire community events and presented information on wellbeing and early mental health intervention at schools.
“Volunteering at Headspace was so rewarding,” she said
“I really felt like I was making a difference with students struggling with anxiety and depression.”
UOW Law and Psychology student Erica Abrahams said that her university commitments are a key factor in not being able to volunteer.
“My courses are so demanding that my time is always devoted towards them,” she said
Ms Abrahams said her desire to help the less fortunate and give back to the community remains present despite university commitments.
“It’s a situation of, if I could I would,” she said
“Young people have so much going on between uni, work, financial situations, and family, sometimes it is not possible to juggle anything else.”
Dandelion Support Network accepts donations of quality preloved nursery furniture and items for children and babies in need. The items are processed by volunteers who pack the items for their new homes. Volunteers Lynn Peake and Barry Jones both claim that working for Dandelion has enriched their lives.
With the desire to volunteer still present, there is hope that numbers amongst young people volunteering will increase in upcoming years.