Renee: Her Volunteering Journey June 14, 2023June 13, 2023 by admin Discovering the Magic of Giving Back: Renee’s Transformation as a Volunteer Renee is one of those remarkable individuals who has discovered the profound impact of volunteering and how it has enriched her own life. In this interview, we dive into Renee’s journey as a volunteer, exploring the experiences that led her to this path and the transformative power of giving back. VGC: Can you tell us about your background and the pivotal role that inspired you to volunteer? Renee: During my employment as a Medical Receptionist for the last ten years at The Pines Medical Practice I have had the pleasure of encountering people from all walks of life, particularly the elderly. In my role, I see daily the positive impact that carers, both paid and unpaid, have on the lives of their elderly companions. After both of my elderly parents passed away, I missed the pleasure of their company and sought out a way to connect with the older generation. I approached Volunteering Gold Coast and applied for a position as a Visitor in their Community Visitor Scheme and was matched with a lovely lady whom I visited weekly. I found Volunteering to be addictive. I wanted to do more. What else can I offer? How can I help? I began looking for more opportunities. What made you want to do more as a volunteer? The Lismore flood event was my next volunteering opportunity. I volunteered to be involved in the clean-up. A crew of other like-minded volunteers and I travelled by mini-bus to Lismore over a period of 3 successive Saturdays. There I viewed with my own eyes the devastation to people and property left behind by the floods that hit the town in 2022. We were there to help the residents still living in their homes. We cleaned, swept, mopped, and hosed to try to help clean up as much as possible. It was a big job, and I left each day wishing I could have done more but also feeling a great sense of achievement. What volunteering do you currently do? I had always wanted to do something fun and worthwhile with my dog “Moe”. I found “Story Dogs”, a Literacy Charity that promotes reading and the love of books in school-aged children. Founded in Murwillumbah in 2009, Story Dogs are in schools Australia-wide. Moe and I attend Currumbin State School weekly to sit with Year 2 students who either struggle with reading concepts, are non-readers or would just benefit from more exposure to books. This is a great experience. The students love enjoying books with Moe and he takes his role very seriously! What’s next? The homeless crisis on the Gold Coast is real and the “Walk With Us” Charity provides weekly Tuesday night dinners to those either living on the streets or who are just needing a healthy hot meal. Held in the Uniting Church at Burleigh, I am lucky to be a part of a dedicated team by helping to serve the dinners and cleaning up after. I volunteer at the dinners once a month. The weekly dinners are provided to the diners free of charge and as well as a chance to engage socially with others in the community who are sleeping rough. Diners have access to local Mental Health Care Counsellors and Psychologists who attend to offer their services free of charge. Upcoming volunteering? An opportunity that I am looking forward to in my Volunteering Journey is working in a social support role at the upcoming Gold Coast Homeless Connect event in August held by Volunteering Gold Coast. This will be an all-day event where our less fortunate community members can access a range of services and support. I believe that looking after others is important but more so I believe that looking after yourself is the most important. As when you have more, you have more to give! Renee’s inspiring journey as a volunteer reminds us of the profound impact that selfless acts of kindness can have on both individuals and communities. From her initial desire to reconnect with the elderly, to the addiction she developed for volunteering, Renee shows us the transformative power of service. As we look back on Renee’s journey, let us be inspired to explore our own paths of volunteering and uncover the amazing rewards that come with selfless service. Don’t hesitate to contact Volunteering Gold Coast to learn more about volunteer opportunities and how you can get involved like Renee!