Franca Goodwin is at pains to point out that three years into her retirement, she’s leading an ordinary quiet life.
Yet she’s making an extra-ordinary difference to the lives of a dozen or so residents at Uniting AgeWell Strathdon Community.
And during National Volunteer Week, it’s time to publicly thank all our wonderful volunteers, like Franca, for their endless work and tireless energy in enriching the lives of our residents and clients.
The theme for this year is The Change Makers which celebrates the power to drive change and ensure volunteering is inclusive of all members of the Australian community.
Uniting AgeWell CEO Andrew Kinnersly says, “this theme rings true for us, where inclusion is a core value underpinning everything we do. With a long history of volunteer support, Uniting AgeWell’s services have grown and flourished; a vital contribution we recognise and appreciate each and every day.”
Last year Franca started volunteering one morning a week at the Forest Hill aged care facility where she spends one-on-one time with individual residents. Chatting to them, listening to stories of their lives and sharing her own.
And the former executive assistant is finding it’s hugely rewarding to reach out to older people and become part of their lives.
“I talk about all sorts of things with them,” says Franca. “We chat about books, gardening, crossword puzzles… I find it a great privilege to get to know them and spend time with them. Some of them are quite lonely, and I know they look forward to my visits.”
Franca is also open to other volunteering opportunities: She’s noticed a partially-sighted resident crouched over his computer trying to type his memoir. She’s keen to offer her help.
“I took in some home-made biscuits over Christmas and recently some Easter eggs, and while the residents were happy to receive the little gifts, it’s my company that they enjoy,” says Franca. “That leaves me feeling valued and appreciated. It’s nice to make a difference.”
Franca is very well travelled, and also loves spending time with her friends and her grandchildren.
And her advice to others thinking of volunteering? “It’s so worthwhile! Give it a go.”
There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities available at Uniting AgeWell.
Click the link below or call 13 93 75 to see how you too can enrich the lives of older people – and your own!Learn more about volunteering with us