It was a woman I'd never met who finally swung it. As I lay on a plump mattress under a duck down duvet one night in late April, I thought about what she, Liz, had done with her day. While I'd been sitting on my backside, shuffling words around and working my way through a variety of nut-based snacks, she'd been putting out fires, breaking up knife fights and comforting dozens of bewildered children who know her as a second mum.
Retirement should be a landmark moment in all of our lives. And it should be a cause of celebration where we look forward to extra leisure time or moments with friends and family. So it is alarming that new research - commissioned by Beanstalk - shows that the vast majority of people are worried about retirement.
The key message is that people shouldn't be put off donating to charity because of the actions of a few. However, everyone has a key role to play if we are to keep the role of charities at the heart of society and maintain (or increase!) the high levels of volunteering and donations made by the generous British public.
To the outside world, because they do not immediately dash for the door, women trapped by their abusive partners may seem submissive. In fact, they are resisting - they adopt survival techniques and actively find ways of coping. An abused woman fights, relentlessly, to keep herself and her children safe.
A growing demand for voluntary placements in children's homes and orphanages has also led to more children ending up in orphanages and other institutional care homes despite having families at home that are likely to be able to care for them. It is estimated that of the two million plus children who live institutional care, a shocking four out of five have at least one living parent.
Young people across the world are giving up more of their time to donate to good causes. We have already seen the masses of research and reports about Generation Y, Z, Millennials, whatever the name is you want to call the now generation - they suggest that young people now have more of a social conscience than ever and care more about their impact on the world than their wages.
It's this time of the year again: everyone I know at uni has jetted off on wonderful journeys of self-discovery, whether helping indigenous communities in the Brazilian rainforest or spending three months hitchhiking the Silk Road. Even though I can't help but turn my nose up at expeditions like this, when I got asked to come to China to teach for three weeks, with all expenses paid (and yes, I do mean flights), I couldn't say no.
As we collectively navigate this crisis we must consider the cost of failing to act. Essa, Danika, and Maria are living proof of how our society benefits when refugees have the opportunity to learn, to work, and to give. Acting on behalf of refugees is not merely altruistic. In Danika's words, "By saving refugees, we are saving ourselves, our future, our morality, and our civilization."
Simply put, there are some things in life which are good for us. Eating well, exercising and socialising are all a given, but I think volunteering should be right up there as well. It's strange but it sometimes feels like I'm a different person now from who I was and I think a lot of that is down to contributing towards something I feel so passionately about. If you're looking to improve your own life, try helping others, it's helped me to rebuild mine.
Volunteering doesn't always conjure the most romantic of images. Generally it's visions of solitary trips leafleting or rattling a tin in a shopping centre. But it can and does have a massive impact on our economy and on people's wellbeing; something we at Sue Ryder know very well and want to try and celebrate this Volunteers' Week.
This is the year that Volunteers' Week has been extended from seven to twelve days, enabling more people to take part. The final day coincides with the Patron's lunch: a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
It's a well quoted fact that volunteering has numerous benefits-whether for health, skills development or wellbeing it's an all round great thing to do. Volunteering showcases human beings at their best and we should take the opportunity that volunteers week provides to celebrate and appreciate everyone who gives their time.
Unless we want to find ourselves in 2030 having failed to fulfil our commitments, writing another set of Global Goals, mourning the loss of a great opportunity for change, we must take the role of youth seriously. Young people have a passion for change that gives them the drive to shape the world they live in. In the mission to end poverty and deliver on the Global Goals, what better allies to have?