This week the Colin Biggers & Paisley Foundation recognises National Volunteer Week and celebrates the volunteer work undertaken by everyone in the practice. Making an impact is at the core of what we do and since 2015 our people have given over 3,600 hours of volunteering time to our community partners. Thank you! Volunteers truly are the fabric of a healthy society.
As we celebrate National Volunteer week, it is hard not to focus on the current situation and the profound impact it is having on volunteering. COVID-19 quickly affected volunteers and volunteer programs across the country. Many have stepped up and volunteered during this period in new and innovative ways. Whether it's talking with a senior who is socially isolated, teaching an isolated senior to become digitally connected, or providing pro bono legal advice to people in need via telephone. You are all providing assistance where it's really needed - at the sharp end for those individuals and organisations struggling at this time.
to our volunteers for your continued commitment to assist vulnerable people and to ensure they do not fall through the gaps.
Stories from our Volunteers
Sangeeta Prasad - Secretary, Melbourne
This week I started my volunteering for 4 Voices who offer assistance to connect girls and women who are experiencing, or at risk of experiencing social isolation, domestic violence, homelessness and digital exclusion. Due to the current climate, 4 Voices have extended their services to include all people in need, especially in relation to digital exclusion/isolation.
Earlier this week I undertook my first assignment and had the pleasure of speaking to John who is an 80+ resident at an aged care facility in Brisbane.
I was surprised at John's boldness when he shared with me in the first 30 seconds of our conversation that he was legally/clinically blind and had a swearing problem (mind you this is also the same person who asked me to excuse him for taking a few sips from his coffee - manners don't die when that age clock ticks over!). I knew from that moment that any conversation I had with John would be interesting.
John is very warm and loves a chat and his chocolate - despite having diabetes and sending his sugar levels through the roof!
The main problem John is facing at the moment is isolation due to COVID-19. He is frustrated about not being able to do what he wants, when he wants and this aggravates him very much.
My chat with John was very welcomed and seemed to put him in good spirits. He was very grateful that I was able to take some time out of my day to chat with him. It was amazing to see that such a small gesture meant so much to John which made me want to commit more time to this assignment.
** Client's name has been changed to ensure privacy
Carlita Bloecker - Lawyer, Melbourne
It was wonderful to speak to the senior I was allocated through the Aurous volunteering program. My senior requested someone who could speak German and so I am also getting an opportunity to improve and practice my German language skills.
It was great that we were able to connect and be open with each other very quickly. She opened up and shared so much of her life story and talked about the difficulties she is currently facing in these unusual circumstances. Given so many of us, whether young or old, have been isolated from friends or family, the discussions are a great way for both of us to feel connected to the community.