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It’s Saturday morning and, as her classmates head off to play sport, go to work or sleep in, Chantelle Frost is doing her bit to help others.
The Mount Maunganui College pupil volunteers at her local Red Cross Shop in Greerton every Saturday morning.
She’s been working in the shop for almost a year and enjoys her mornings in the store.
“It’s fun. It’s a small community so a lot of customers I see week in, week out, so I get to know a lot of people,” she says.
For Chantelle, volunteering in the shop is an easy way to make a difference. Proceeds from Red Cross Shops support Red Cross’ work in communities across New Zealand and around the world.
But the shop isn’t the only way Chantelle lends a hand in her community.
In the school holidays, Chantelle helps out at Red Cross’ curtain bank and she volunteers with Crossing the Generations, a Red Cross programme that helps older people learn more about technology.
She also attended Red Cross’ Youth Forum in Canterbury earlier this year.
The teenager decided she wanted to give back through volunteering but it wasn’t until she started with Red Cross that she realised the range of things she could do.
“I always wanted to volunteer,” she explains. “I stuck around with Red Cross because it’s so diverse. You can do so much more.”
It’s also an opportunity to gain new skills and to engage with people, like retirees, in a new way, she says.
“It’s just a different community than we’re used to - it’s a thing you don’t get in school. People don’t realise it’s such a good time.”
Next year, Chantelle is planning to study medicine at the University of Otago, but will continue to stay involved in the organisation through the university’s Red Cross group.