Dr Butterworth spoke at the Amaroo Volunteer Appreciation Lunch and award ceremony during the 25th annual National Volunteer Week, attended by 120 people who regularly give up their free time help at the retirement village and aged-care facilities.
Dr Butterworth has volunteered for the past 56 years, most recently with the National Council of Women and the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education, which has taken her to Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea and China.
‘Our major institutions such as fire and emergency services, hospitals, schools and aged-care facilities wouldn’t function as effectively without the contributions of volunteers,’ she said.
‘Other civil societies, professional associations, social and amateur sporting clubs wouldn’t function at all.’
Dr Butterworth said as well as ensuring society’s wellbeing, volunteers got an ‘inner glow’ from brightening another person’s day.
She said lessening burdens on other people led to a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life, kept the mind and body active |and staved off boredom and loneliness.
‘When carried out at the global level, volunteering extends one’s horizons and develops our understanding of other cultures and other ways of doing things, which ultimately builds tolerance and world peace,’ she said.
Amaroo board president Norm Smith closed the proceedings, saying that volunteers needed to possess generosity, understanding, empathy, compassion, patience and dedication.
He said these qualities were present in all of those gathered to celebrate the day.