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Meet Our Volunteers

We've trawled Sydney looking for dedicated volunteers with an interesting story to tell and we think we've found a few of them. Below are their stories.

Want to tell us your volunteer story? We are always interested in talking to volunteers and spreading the message of not just how volunteering helps the community but also how it can help you. Just email your details to info@volunteering.com.au and we will contact you for an interview.

Stephanie Gould
Australians are world-renowned for their community spirit, good nature and willingness to lend a helping hand when it's needed most. These qualities are being proudly recognised by Sensis on the cover of the Nowra Yellow™ and White Pages® directory, which this year features Stephanie Gould from Nowra, a volunteer with more than 10 years service to the community. MORE
For the past six months, my teenaged son Will, a volunteer English teacher, has been living in paradise maybe not the desert island variety but in China's rural city of Guilin. I say 'paradise' because that's how some teenagers from Beijing University described Guilin – physically beautiful, surrounded by limestone karst hills and rivers and green fields of rice. It is said: "I will marry in Beijing but I will spend my life in Paradise." MORE
Gabe Perna
In the study of journalism, you can take all the classes and read all the books but nothing beats experience. Any journalism professor or professional I have ever met has always stressed the importance of gaining experience in the field. I was blessed to have all sorts of experiences from August to November 2006 when interning and studying in Sydney, Australia, for my final year in journalism at the Marist College, New York, USA. MORE
Harry Whelan
"Initially I just wanted to become more active in my community by being involved in local youth affairs but, in time, this has evolved into something much greater. Gradually I saw a need to enable and motivate other young people to speak up and speak out". MORE
Helen Lam
"Just as much as I have brought joy into the lives of those I have met through working as a Community Visitor with the Central Area Health Service over the years, so they have enriched mine. I know now how I can grow old gracefully and how pointless accumulating material possession is". MORE
Irma Bradford
"I would say to anyone with a little spare time on their hands to try volunteering – there is a saying that it is far better to give than receive. I truly believe this. The joy, the fun and the friendships made over 60 years are proof of this". MORE
Karen Taylor
"From my experience working as a Bridge to Volunteering Presenter with The Centre for Volunteering, I have gone from being frightened of taking risks to 'having a go'. I have learnt to say 'I can!' instead of 'I can't!' and I have found the volunteering experience incredibly rewarding. I challenge anyone to do something positive for themselves and others!" MORE
Peter Batcheler
"I get an enormous amount of satisfaction from the role of Tour Guide at the ABC... I like being active and involved, keeping my mind sharp, imparting knowledge, meeting and talking with people – no real pressure, just plain having a good time". MORE
Tony Stokes
"It's good to utilise the skills that I have developed over 35 years as a school teacher. You get a great deal of satisfaction when you complete a unit and you know it's going to affect thousands and thousands of people." MORE
Wendy Robertson
Wendy Robertson has been a Thursday volunteer with Easy Care Gardening Inc (ECG) since 2004. ECG is a Home and Community Care funded charitable organisation. Teams of Easy Care Gardening volunteers work in the gardens of the frail elderly and people with a disability on a pension. The volunteers weed, prune, tidy and mulch so that vulnerable people might remain in their own homes. An enthusiastic volunteer, Wendy enjoys her work with Easy Care Gardening and is a very deserving recipient of our Gardener of the Month Award. MORE
Yeni Singawidjaya
Yeni Singawidjaya remembers being told by her parents in Jakarta that she needed to be technically competent to gain a well-paid job. Yeni, a seventh generation Chinese, followed their advice and studied diligently at the University of Hawaii to gain a computer degree. She lived there with a relative between 1974 and 1978 while attending university and returned to Jakarta after graduating to start her first job in IT. MORE
Five years ago while listening to an SBS radio Croatian broadcast, I heard an invitation to visit lonely, sick people who live in nursing homes. I imagined that I could have been one of them and thought that I could help someone at least pass the time and feel better. I contacted the phone number that was mentioned on the radio … and I agreed to spend two hours each fortnight with whoever was referred to me. After familiarising myself with the rules each community visitor must adhere to, we went to a nursing home and there I met Petar. He was lying immobile in his bed. He could not speak and looked very miserable to me. MORE

"The best advice I'd give is to start volunteering for one event. It will lead to another. Put your name down and go for it. If you find yourself with a few days or weekends free, there are many organisations needing help. Volunteering might lead to a full-time job or just a huge circle of friends. Volunteering gives you a sense of pride and a feeling of community. You may lose wages but you certainly gain a lot of insight into how organisations are run. It's a win-win situation. There is no downside. Knowledge broadens your mind and money isn't everything!" MORE
"It would be good to see more men volunteering. We've got the problem of more women than men volunteering because women are more social creatures in a way. But more men should offer their skills and experience. There are many worthwhile opportunities out there for men to use their experience and skills. Look for them with Fido!" MORE
My name is Johanna Massaar and I volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) managed by the Central Sydney Area Health Service. I have been visiting one particular lady in a nursing home for 12 years. When I began my visits, this lovely lady was not able to speak well. After a massive stroke, she lost most of her capacity for speech and became paralysed down the right side of her body. MORE
My name is Roman Kaczorowsky and I am a community visitor. I visit four people aged from 80 to 87 who live in nursing homes. Three have a Ukrainian background and one has a Polish background. Their names are Daria at Fairfield, Maria at Liverpool, George at Burwood and John at Petersham. I serve mainly as a listener to these four people who tell me about their lives when young. George can even recite poetry by Taras Shevchenko that he learnt as a 17-year old and he is now 87. MORE
My name is Sami A Cassis and I volunteer for the Community Visitors Scheme managed Central Sydney Area Health Service which has more than 180 volunteers visiting residents in various nursing homes. I would like to tell you about my own personal experiences with two residents whom I visit regularly. MORE
Volunteer Referral Service volunteers rule
By John Forrest, Volunteer (written August 2008)
The numbers say it all! The Centre for Volunteering operates with just 10 paid staff and approximately 100 volunteers working every week. In The Centre's Volunteer Referral Service (VRS), the volunteer contribution is even more noticeable with two paid staff (one full-time and one part-timer) working with more than 35 volunteers each week*. These volunteers work between four and sixteen hours every week. They handle 5,000 enquiries each year from would-be volunteers and interview and match some 3,000 of them with not-for-profit volunteer roles! MORE
That year, at the end of my career, I was listening to the radio when I heard a community announcement requesting volunteers to provide friendly visits to elderly people in nursing homes. I was thinking "Zaga, you are now retired. Since childhood, you have liked and respected old people. Hurry up, as soon as possible, and participate in this kind of volunteer work. Help people with your heart and knowledge as much as you can." MORE

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