Every year, International Volunteer Day is marked on 5 December. Started by the United Nations in 1985, it is meant to highlight the significant and important work that volunteers do worldwide.
As an organisation that is reliant on volunteers, we want to introduce you to some of the dedicated people who give up their time for us and our visitors.
Kaye is a dedicated 20-year-old, who basically lives at the Two Oceans Aquarium. She started volunteering with us in March 2013 and has racked up an impressive 2 899 hours of volunteer work to date. A matriculant of Muizenberg High School, Kaye is passionate about the oceans and is volunteering at the Two Oceans Aquarium because it will be a stepping stone for her future career. She says that “volunteering at the Aquarium develops you as a person”, and that she finds meaning in giving up her time even though there is no monetary return. For her dedication to the Two Oceans Aquarium, Kaye received the Doug Turley Volunteer of the Year Award at the July volunteer graduation this year.
A Grade 10 student at President High School in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, Melissa is one of our newest volunteers. She completed our October 2014 Young Biologist course and started her first shift on 3 December. As with most Young Biologists, she volunteers at the Two Oceans Aquarium because she loves marine life and because the oceans are something that she wants to study after high school. She says she is in her element when at the Aquarium, and loves to help where she can. Most importantly for her, though, this will give her added experience for her study aspirations.
Evanne and Terry Rothwell
Evanne and Terry are a married couple who started volunteering in November 2007, after completing our volunteer training programme. Evanne, 70, and Terry, 72, volunteer their time and enjoy meeting new people the most. Both have served on the Volunteer Committee at the Two Oceans Aquarium, with Evanne taking on the title of chairman from 2012 to 2014. Residents of Fish Hoek, they have the ocean on their doorstep and have developed a deep love for it. Evanne says “learning new things” is something she finds exciting when volunteering. A former nurse, Evanne also enjoys working with disabled visitors and seeing their amazement when learning about marine animals and plants at the touch pool and microscope exhibits. Besides volunteering at the Aquarium, they are also the “first aiders” of the southern peninsula for SANCCOB, helping injured seabirds. On top of all of that, they also belong to the Riverine Rovers, a group that ensures the health of the wetlands and rivers around the Silvermine area.
Thaakirah describes the Two Oceans Aquarium as her home, spending many hours volunteering in various areas. For her diverse volunteering, which includes front-of-house, behind-the-scenes, penguins and education, she was the first-ever recipient of the Charl Vogt Floating Trophy in 2013. This award is only awarded to the most dedicated Young Biologist. Thaakirah, now 19 years old, started her volunteering in September 2011, after completing our Young Biologist course. Ever since she was a baby, she has lived close to the ocean and her parents taught her, from a young age, to respect it and its occupants. Thaakirah says: “Volunteering at the Aquarium means the world to me. It allows me to spend time with the people who have become a second family to me. It allows me to share the knowledge I have gained and to be a part of something amazing.”
Thank you to all our existing volunteers! Read more about volunteering here.