National Volunteer week is just around the corner (11-17 May) and I thought it would be the perfect time to acknowledge the great work that Volunteers are doing around us all the time.
In particular I would like to acknowledge the two lovely ladies who volunteered through “The Benevolent Society” to assist me for a few hours a week during the toughest (and most rewarding) year of my life so far.
I know that it probably goes without saying, but the first year of raising Triplets is hard work. My Child Health nurse would visit and be full of praise for what I was doing but she was also concerned that I was running on empty and applied for me to be assigned a volunteer to visit and help out for a few hours.
I wasn’t sure how I felt at the time about having a stranger come to the house to help with my babies (Would I have the energy to get dressed before they arrived? would my sleep deprived mind be able to think of anything to talk about?), but I knew that I was struggling and I was willing to take any help that was offered.
As it turned out, I was assigned two wonderful ladies who visited once a week for a few hours (on different days), both these ladies made me feel quite relaxed. As well as offering assistance with the babies they offered reassurance that I was doing a good job -even though I felt like I should be doing more- and they offered a welcome insight into what was happening in the world outside my four walls.
As the theme of this years Volunteer Week is “Give Happy, Live Happy” I thought I would contact one of these lovely Ladies “Veronica” and ask her a few questions about her experiences as a Volunteer.
Here’s what she had to say:
- Hi Veronica, firstly can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a mother of two amazing little boys, and a wife to a loving and supportive husband. We moved up to the Gold Coast 8 years ago from Melbourne and loving every bit of it. I am currently studying a Masters degree in Primary Teaching as well as working part time and keeping house. I guess you can say I’m a busy little chicken.
- How did you first get involved with volunteering?
I approached the Benevolent Society and told them that I wanted to become a volunteer. My reasoning was due to the fact that I had PND after having my first son. I felt alone and unsupported as my family were so far away. But with the help of the Benevolent Society, I started to reconnect with the community and enjoyed being a first time mother again. With this in mind, that is when I decided that I wanted to become a volunteer and offer support to families.
- What have you found most Challenging about Volunteering?
Definitely getting close to my families. Forgetting that there are rules and boundaries to adhere to as a volunteer.
At times I found that I was sharing my own personal experiences which is a not allowed. I guess I always felt comfortable and at ease with my families.
- What have you found most rewarding about Volunteering?
Everything. Volunteering is a very rewarding experience. Meeting wonderful mothers with their gorgeous babies. Watching them grow, reaching different milestones. All the hugs, cuddles and laughs is what it is all about.
- What are your favourite and least favourite memories from your time spent volunteering?
The highlights for me, were the unexpected cuddles and kisses from the children. My heart melt every time.
I think the least favourite, was seeing the children sick. As a mother I know how horrible it is when one of my little ones are sick, and I guess I didn’t want any of my other ‘babies’ sick either.
- The theme for Volunteer week this year is “Give Happy, Live Happy” Do you feel that Volunteering has helped you to “Live Happy”?
Yes. As a volunteer I started to appreciate all that I have. I’m not referring to materialistic stuff, but an appreciation for my children, my husband, my family, my friends. Seeing everyone living and loving life. The best things in life truly are free.
- What have you gained from your time as a Volunteer?
I have learnt a lot about who I am as a person. I am more open and accepting of others than I thought I was. Everyone is human, and everyone needs love and support, I am just so happy that I have had such amazing families, who opened their doors for me and welcomed me into their lives. I feel blessed to be a part of their lives. I am proud to be a volunteer.
- If someone reading this post was interested in becoming a volunteer helping young families, what advice would you give them?
Get in contact with your nearest Family Care Centre and tell them of your interest in being a volunteer.
Go for it! You won’t regret it.
Thank you Veronica, for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts with us, you really are a Super Mum!
If you are in Australia and interested in becoming a volunteer, visit http://www.volunteeringaustralia.org to find a wealth of information and resources.
If You’re planning to travel Australia, check out this comprehensive list of 100 things to do in Australia from the folks at Your-RV-Lifestyle www.your-rv-lifestyle.com/things-to-do-in-australia