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November 12, 2015

Member Spotlight – FOCUS on Families

Focus on Families (FOCUS) has been helping new parents in the Macarthur region for two decades.  FOCUS supports FOCUS-Logo-Vector-Landscape-250x80families by linking them with a trained volunteer who visits the family home, usually once a week for two or three hours.

FOCUS works because the volunteers are also parents, and have often been on difficult life journeys of their own. They understand how hard it can be and work alongside parents to help them cope with the stresses of parenthood and help equip them with the skills, time and strength they need to nurture their children’s development.

Thanks to the determination and passion of those connected to it, FOCUS has gone from strength to strength. Though it can only fund three part time staff, approximately 200 families receive support from the service annually.

FOCUS provides training and supervision to its 60 volunteers who carry out their much needed work. FOCUS takes its approach to Volunteer Management seriously, using The National Standards for Volunteer Management as its framework and guide to best practice. It also offers a welcoming and supportive environment where lasting friendships are often developed between staff, volunteers, community partners and the families supported.

Valuing and recognizing volunteers is a FOCUS priority. Volunteers are nominated for many different awards. While FOCUS volunteers will see themselves as quiet achievers, they were anything but when they were named as the NSW Volunteer Team of the Year for Macarthur last year!

The heart of this service is not measured in size, but by the depths of the commitment to make a difference in the lives of others

Check out Sandra Templeton’s (Manager, FOCUS on Families) top tips for running a successful Volunteer Program:
  1. Actively use The National Standards for Volunteer Involvement. Nurture your volunteers so they feel valuable and valued.
  2. Recognize and acknowledge your volunteers at every opportunity. This not only shows your volunteers that you appreciate them but gives your service publicity and a profile in the community.
  3. Make the volunteering experience enjoyable and rewarding. See the person in every volunteer, share a laugh together and create a bond within your volunteer group.
  4. Network! Get to know your local community newspapers, peak bodies, community partners and politicians.