There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to volunteers. But what they share is everything that counts: kindness and the desire to help others.
So when a group of Uniting AgeWell Social Connections volunteers ranging from students to grandparents, many from different cultures and backgrounds, got together at a Berwick café for a thank-you brunch this week, the camaraderie was tangible.
The laughter and chatter rose as the coffee cups emptied and the theme of all the shared stories was the joy in creating joy in the lives of others.
The brunch at Berwick was one of the many events hosted by Uniting AgeWell during National Volunteer Week to say “thank you” to our wonderful volunteers.
The caring people who are united by their desire to bring joy to older people in the community. The people from all walks of life who respond to the need within to “give back.”
One of those at the Berwick brunch was Tanycia Munasinghe, a 21-year-old Melbourne University BSc student who wants to be a doctor one day. She’s been spending time with a 75-year-old lady who lives in Berwick. And both just love it!
Uniting AgeWell’s Social Connections Services matches volunteers with local people who need support to connect with their local community, interests or services. Tancyia’s family, who are from Sri Lanka, also live in Berwick.
Then there’s 19-year-old Raheel Bostan who is studying commerce and law at Monash University. “My grandmother is in my homeland of Pakistan,” he says, “and spending one-on-one time with older people is almost a way to connect to her.”
Retired nurse Julie Jones loves volunteering and says it is also a way to make friends. She says after a year of “fluffing around” during retirement she looked at how she could make a difference. “So I started volunteering and connected one on one with a gorgeous lady. She loves it, but I get so much out of it too. It’s lovely, we talk about anything. I find it fulfilling.”
Meanwhile Pat Kennedy has been volunteering at Uniting AgeWell for the last seven years and says she absolutely loves making a difference to the lives of older people.
“Everyone has a story,” she says. “And I love hearing the life stories of older people. When you spend time with them, you certainly get to build up good friendships over the years. Sometimes they almost feel like family!”
There are a huge variety of volunteering opportunities at Uniting AgeWell - just check out how you can enrich the lives of others, and your own!Explore volunteering opportunities with us