Volunteering can be good for your health too
  • Tuesday 12 May 2015
Mel Erbacher

Keeping fit is almost a religion for many – and fun-running has become a new social gathering event.

It certainly attracted Palmwoods resident and volunteer Mel Erbacher, a keen runner – and now the 35-year-old is completely immersed in run-organising.

“I began volunteering regularly in 2012 at Kawana parkrun,” Mel said.

“And I am now the Event Director at both the Kawana and Brightwater parkruns.”

The two parkruns have become a regular Saturday morning constitutional for many keen runners, offering a group 5km run, where participants can test themselves against the clock if they choose.

“All parkrun events are run 100% by volunteers,” Mel said.

“When I saw the positive impact the Kawana event was having on the health and wellbeing of its participants, I knew I wanted to get more involved.”

When it comes to advice for people of all ages as to whether volunteering is worth it, Mel has a clear view.

“Go for it!” she said.

“Start out at a community event like parkrun where full training and support is provided to volunteers and see where it takes you.

“You’ll have a great time, make new friends, and enjoy the satisfaction of giving something back to your community.”

Sunshine Coast Council Community Programs portfolio councillor Jenny McKay said this year’s theme is “Give Happy, Live Happy”, and acknowledged the many volunteers who gave back to the community in so many ways.

“Volunteers make an enormous difference to our community, and the nation,” Cr McKay said.

“Becoming a volunteer offers a tremendous opportunity to return something the community and perhaps learning something completely new and rewarding in your life.

“For so many people, giving is its own reward.

“And there are no age limits, with people young and old volunteering across many areas.”

Visit Council’s website www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au for more information on volunteering.