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The Consul was proud to participate at COASIT national volunteer day and to give out the awards to the people who took time to assist the Italian Community in Adelaide.

Ms Franca Antonello, President of Coasit;
Hon. Jennifer Rankine, Minister for Volunteers;
Mr. Andrew Hamilton, General Manager - Office of Volunteers;
Distinguished Presidents and/or representatives of the organizations that are part of Coasit:
CIC, APAIA, ANFE, Saint Hilarion, IBF, PISA and NIC;
Mr. Vincenzo Papandrea, President of Comites;
Ms. Fulvia Corelli, Multicultural SA;
Mr Simon Di Francesco, President of the Abruzzo Club;
Dear Volunteers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is truly a privilege for me to be here today to thank the wonderful volunteers for their dedication and commitment to the Italian Community in South Australia.

As Minister Rankine will probably agree, to be a volunteer is something commendable per se, almost independently from its cause. To be a volunteer means to donate one of the most precious and scarce things we have – time – without getting, in return, its core cash value.

Being volunteer doesn’t only mean sacrificing monetary gain; it also means sacrificing time out of work for the family and for personal enjoyment.

I find that in today’s world, where the preponderant philosophies seem to be consumerism and individualism, volunteers help us put things into perspective and focus on what is really important for the Community, but also for us: to help those people that are in need.

So, while it is important to formally recognize the work of the volunteers through special awards, I am convinced that the greatest reward lies within each and every volunteer, which is amply repaid by the difference his actions make for the people he supports, and by the way he is impacting people’s lives.

Now, I have said that volunteer work is commendable almost independently from its cause, but I am obviously very happy that the cause we are speaking about today is the aging Italian Community.

As you probably know, we Italians are one of the world’s oldest populations – that is why they send us young Italian Consuls…to hide that fact! – and I understand that even here in Australia the number of older Italians is growing at twice the rate of other Communities.

Thus, the Italian Community needs comparably more attention than other groups.

Luckily, much of that attention comes from the support of the extended family, that is usually more than happy to help the nonnos and nonnas. In Italy we pride ourselves – and with a reason – of our strong family values, and our deep intergenerational support.

However, not all older people can count on that form of support, and thus the help they get from COASIT and all its related organizations is invaluable.

The Italian Government has been a proud supporter of COASIT SA since it was launched in 2003, and will continue to endorse its activities. As Consul, it is comforting for me to know that there is an organization that acts as a central point of information, advice and referral for the Italian Community; an organization that addresses the most delicate issues concerning the ageing population and lobbies so that they get the attention they deserve.

And finally, the basic reason why I admire COASIT volunteers’ work is because, at the end of the day, it’s about showing the generation of our parents and grand-parents how much we appreciate what they have done for us, migrating through troubled times and working hard to give us young Italians the quality of life and the education we now enjoy.

Now that’s something to volunteer for!

Thank you very much.