Volunteer Stories and Testimonials

Volunteer Spotlight – Read stories about our amazing volunteers

Do you have an amazing volunteer who you would like to share their story with our community? We are running a campaign to share dedicated volunteers in our communities’ stories with our readers. Below are some of 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. Other things we would like to hear about you include: Why did you decide to volunteer? Why did you choose this particular organisation? What do you enjoy most about your role and volunteering?

Just email your details including volunteering experience and a photo of you at work to membership@volunteering.com.au and we will get in touch.


Norm Hams – Volunteer Referral Centre interviewer at The Centre for Volunteering

Why did you decide to volunteer?
“During my working life, I had a background in economics and human resources. Over the years, I volunteered with local schools and sporting events. Once I retired, I had more time available and was interested to find out what sort of opportunities were available to volunteers. I discovered The Centre for Volunteering and attended a Bridge to Volunteering session.”

Why did you choose this particular role?
“I was offered a volunteer interviewer’s position, interviewing prospective volunteers. Although I set out with the intention of trying different sorts of work, I realised that this was an area I was good at.”

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?
“I enjoy working with fellow members of the team and the connection to other, would-be volunteers. For those used to working every day before retirement, volunteering provides a ‘structure’ to the week. It allows me to be involved in something bigger than myself and gives me a close connection to the wider community.”


Brian Elliott – Member and Client Services Representatives at The Centre for Volunteering

Why did you decide to volunteer?

Volunteering has always been important to me. It has been my goal to give something to the community to help make the world a better place for us all. I know that by volunteering I receive many wonderful gifts in return, the chance to meet others and give some support and assistance, meet and learn from others and gain some wonderful friendships which are really valuable for my own well-being.

My parents were wonderful examples to me about giving back to the community. They supported my activities and were selfless in helping others. In some small way, I am honoring their example and hope to show others the importance of being involved in the community without an expectation of financial reward. Showing by example to my children and grandchildren is also important.

Why did you choose this particular organisation?

The Centre for Volunteering probably chose me. When I left fulltime work, The Centre for Volunteering requested help with organising a program for a group of Korean interns who visited Sydney for seven weeks in January and February. I was lucky enough to go to South Korea on a study tour some years ago and received fantastic hospitality. It was one of those lucky opportunities to return a little of what I had received. How wonderful it was to be able to share something about our country and learn more about South Korea.

Following this program I was invited to become a Membership Ambassador and joined the Membership and Client Services team. This has given me the opportunity to promote volunteering with the members, young people and the broader community. I hope I am spreading the good word about volunteering. Working with our team at the Centre has been rewarding and stimulating in many different ways.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Coming to The Centre for Volunteering gets me out of home on a Wednesday and challenges and stimulates me each time. The satisfaction of knowing I have helped our members in some way and promoted volunteering is a rewarding experience. I also enjoy the friendship gained from being part of a team of enthusiastic volunteers and The Centre staff. This is one of the best aspects of volunteering as part of an organisation.

I have great pleasure in telling people about my role at The Centre for Volunteering. I hope it reflects the values and personal goals which are important to the way I live my life.


Denise Tierney – Front Desk Reception at The Centre for Volunteering 

Why did you decide to Volunteer?

At a young age I started rescuing animals that were abandoned in or around our local school. I would organise a whip around of the kid’s pocket money and we would take the dog to the RSPCA, along with a donation, to ensure it would be cared for – unless someone was allowed to take it home.

I then got involved in various programs through school such as the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award where I discovered ways of helping the community in need. Other programs included the St Johns Ambulance Cadet Programme, volunteering at sporting events, aged care homes, city parades on the side lines rendering first aid and maternity hospital assisting and caring for babies in the nursery section. I also joined my local Salvation Army Youth Programme and the Army Reserve.

From there on for many years, I volunteered with a variety of groups in the community (all whilst I was in full time employment) including the RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and the Cat Protection Opportunity Shop.

I also volunteered for several years with Sailability, where I was also able to gain my boat licence. Volunteering here given me such inspiration to see people normally wheel chair dependent be a free spirit out on the water, they just lived for their summer weekends.

Other organisations I have volunteered for include NSW Coast Guard and the SES where I gained lots of valuable life skills and long term friendships.

Why did you choose The Centre for Volunteering?

I recently retired and I missed working, the comradery, mental stimulation and keeping my skills alive. I discovered the SEEK Volunteering site and started searching all the positions available where I stumbled upon the Receptionist role for The Centre for Volunteering. The role sounded unique and interesting.

What do you enjoy most about your role and volunteering?

I enjoy having somewhere to belong on certain days of the week when volunteering at The Centre for Volunteering and it gives me structure, friendship and keeps my skills updated. I also volunteer for WIRES.

I have also recently volunteered to assist in admin roles for Vets Beyond Borders. After travelling through 3rd world countries I was devastated to see the appalling animal neglect, so upon my return I actively searched for an organisation what I could assist.

I also currently volunteer admin work with the Naval Historical Society at Garden Island, I enjoy learning about history and educating the Public through this organisation.

On my Drawing Board – I would like to volunteer with Mercy Ships for a set period of time and working with the homeless. It is about just finding the time. Who said retirement was boring?


In Memoriam

John Forrest – Volunteer Referral Centre interviewer at The Centre for Volunteering 
The Centre lost one of its own valuable volunteers when John Forrest passed away on 12 October 2017. John was in his 15th year of volunteering with The Centre and worked as a Volunteer Referral Service Interviewer. He also volunteered for other organisations, including The Children’s Hospital. Staff will remember him as a treasured team member who had a genuine interest in getting to know people, a quality which made him a wonderful interviewer. Everyone at The Centre for Volunteering enjoyed working with him and remembers him as a friend who will be dearly missed.