This week is National Volunteer Week, an initiative that celebrates the generous contribution of Australia's volunteers. National Volunteer Week has been celebrated for more than 30 years, and is the largest celebration of volunteers in Australia.
Nationally, St John Ambulance provides more than 3,500,000 volunteer hours each year. In NSW, volunteers provide medical and first aid services at events right across the state. These range from small community events to large-scale public events such as Royal Easter Show, Anzac Day and the City2Surf.
Last year alone 3300 St John volunteers provided care to people at more than 5000 public events and emergencies.
These volunteers give up their time to make sure these events are safe and enjoyable for everyone, volunteers like 20-year-old Carly Morrison, who saved a life at the Sydney Half Marathon last year.
It was only Carly's third duty with St John Ambulance when she was stationed at the finish line of the race, and noticed a man in his 20s collapse and begin having a Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Carly, along with her partner, began performing CPR right away, and saved his life.
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St John Ambulance NSW CEO Sarah Lance says the commitment and dedication of St John volunteers is inspiring. "Each year our volunteers continue to astound me with their selfless nature and enthusiasm to make the community a better and safer place," she says.
"This year has further highlighted the generous spirit of our volunteers as they provided aid during the devastating bushfire crisis. They truly are the unsung heroes of our nation and we are so pleased to honour them during this important week."
St John Ambulance volunteers also provide wider community services such as first aid training, including delivering first aid training to school children. Engaging with Australia's youth is an important part of St John Ambulance's work, as they continue to raise awareness for the importance of knowing first aid for young people.
St John Ambulance has an incredibly strong youth contingent, with more than half of their volunteers being under the age of 25. Many of their volunteers start out in the St John Ambulance Cadet program as children and continue volunteering as adults, often with their whole family.
"Our volunteers are from all walks of life- we have anaesthetists, pharmacists, teachers, IT professionals, university students and more," says Sarah Lance. "What unites these individuals is their drive, passion and commitment to helping people in sickness and distress, and Australia is a better place because of them."
To find out more about St John Ambulance, or to register as a volunteer, visit www.stjohn.org.au/volunteers
About St John Ambulance (NSW)
St John NSW has been working with and making a difference in communities across NSW for over 135 years to save lives through first aid. Our vision is to have one person educated, equipped and prepared to provide first aid in every home, workplace and public gathering.
We are a self-funded, not-for-profit organisation which means our first aid courses and equipment help to fund our community programs. This profit-for-purpose approach allows us to reinvest back into community programs to help build a resilient and safer NSW.
Find out more at www.stjohnnsw.com.au.
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