On Friday I had the privilege of manning a barbecue for a free church event called Family Fun Friday.
We had been invited to help and the timing fitted into our diaries. There was a good turnout and as I looked around at all the volunteers selflessly giving their time I felt compelled to write about the people and organisations that exist to make a difference.
Last week, I talked about the power of shopping locally and supporting the many businesses that employ the people we meet in the shops, have as friends and who create our community.
When we consider quality of life - something most of us are incredibly blessed with here in New Zealand - there are many things to consider. In keeping with the theme of last week's article, I want to explore how each one of us can create community.
The community in which we live has a massive impact on our perceived quality of life. The safer we feel, the more we like our neighbours and the more we believe the people around us are decent folk who care, the more likely we are to believe we are lucky to live where we do.
The spirit of a community is seen and demonstrated in many ways - the respect for public spaces, the general tidiness of areas visible to the public, the willingness of people to help strangers, the support of charity events and good causes to name a few.
When one looks around Palmy, or any NZ town for that matter, one of the endearing features is the number of organisations that exist to help others.
In setting mission and vision statements for companies, we encourage them to look beyond themselves to the wider positive impact they can make on the community, city, country and world. People like to work for businesses set on making an impact.
If you are a private business, are you clear and intentional about the legacy you are creating and the impact you make on the world?
Some organisations are created with this express intent in mind. The op shops around the city, the feeding programmes run by many of the churches and by organisations like Just Zilch, the aged care homes, the Cancer Society, SPCA, Lions and Rotary, Kind Hearts, and so many more. Beyond these there are sports clubs, social groups and entertainment organisations.
These groups have a lot in common. They bring people together, unite them with a common cause and vision and are supported by volunteers. Sometimes it is a small handful of dedicated people and sometimes it is an army of them. If you are one of these people - thank you. You make a difference. I have a favour to ask of you please.
In a world where loneliness and depression are endemic you have a key. If you volunteer, ask a friend along to help you. Reach out and invite a neighbour to an event. If you have never been, or never helped, I encourage you to go along and get involved. It only needs to be in a small way.
Helping others helps people stop, take stock and look outside themselves. In the frantic pace of life, it can be easy to get lost and caught up in the downward spiral of a falling rat-wheel spinning endlessly around and around.
When we look beyond ourselves we not only find a joy and peace that service to others brings, but we also weave a thread that sews individual hearts into a community and makes our world a wonderful place to be.
• Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.