National Volunteer Week 2020 is a special milestone for Hurstville-based volunteer Mark Shortus.
This year Mark is celebrating a decade of volunteering as a Post Adoption Researcher for The Benevolent Society's Post Adoption Resource Centre (PARC).
National Volunteer Week, May 18 to 24, is the annual celebration to acknowledge the contribution of the nation's volunteers.
Based in Hurstville, PARC provides information, counselling, intermediary services, therapeutic groups and support to people affected by adoption in NSW.
Mark assists PARC staff with locating family members affected by adoption. This involves assisting parents in finding their children who were adopted or for adopted people to find their parents and birth family.
Mark decided to become a volunteer for a number of reasons including wanting to give back to the community and to utilise skills he had have learned through previous work.
"Most importantly I wanted to give people affected by adoption the chance to find some kind of closure to what can be a traumatic situation," Mark said.
"I want to help give them a chance to find out who, and how, their family is.
"Helping someone find a long lost family member is very fulfilling but, even if we can't find their family, I feel that giving someone an opportunity to find their family is fulfilling.
"However, ultimately I find that knowing someone has received answers, and potentially closure, is the most satisfying part of the volunteering I do.
"I believe that we can all make a difference in the community. We don't need to change the world to make a difference.
"Making a small difference in one person's life is enough to change the world. It doesn't take much. The reward the community receives from volunteering is immense, let alone the fulfilment it gives the volunteer."
The Benevolent Society's Fiona Cameron, Team Leader, Post Adoption Resource Centre, thanked Markfor his ten years of effort and energy in helping PARC support people affected by adoption.
"Mark is so prompt, capable, thoughtful and respectful in all of his dealings with PARC and our clients,"she said
PARC has a small group of volunteers who conduct quite specific, but important tasks. They are very important to our work. Some assist us in locating family members, while others make themselves available to share their personal experience of adoption with other people who are on their own journey regarding the impact of adoption. PARC's Advisory Committee is also made up of volunteers.