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Volunteer Profile: Narelle

When people walk through our door looking to volunteer they most likely meet with our talented referral officer Narelle. Narelle enjoys finding someone’s passion or interests and matching it to the appropriate volunteer position. She finds the joy in finding those matches, “it puts such a smile on their faces and also that they can then brighten somebody’s day in the community too”.

 

Let’s get to know Narelle and why she first started volunteering:

How long have you been at Volunteering Gold Coast?

For approximately two years I’ve been here now.

 

Why did you start Volunteering with VGC?

I was actually looking for a volunteering position in the police but at the time it was during covid they weren’t doing the induction side. I was actually referred to the position from Volunteering Gold Coast. Then in September, that position became available again and I reapplied thinking they were going to do the inductions. I had a call back to Volunteering Gold Coast to discuss things and hence I became a referral officer.

 

What does your job include at VGC?

I started off doing reception and booking for day to day requests. Before I knew it I was thrown into the referral officer role, and I love being able to have a rapport after being in hotel management for 35 years. So I’ve got a rapport with the volunteers coming in, and it also gives me back a purpose. But more so that it gives the volunteer an understanding as to what Volunteering Gold Coast stands for, who we are, what we are, and what we can provide for them.

I sort of ascertain what the volunteers would like to do. Whether there is a suitable position for them and go from there. There’s no point in if someone wants to do the Marine biology volunteering side of things and they’ve got absolutely no interest in marine life. So you have to assess what roles would be viable for what they actually want to do. So I like that challenge, I do all my research first thing every morning to make sure I know exactly what they’re looking for. Then my goal is to give them three volunteer role options, even though they may want one because a few options are better than just one.

 

What’s your favourite part about volunteering with VGC?

I think fulfilling the role of what the volunteer actually wants as well as the organisation looking for volunteers. Being successful in finding that match.

 

What would you say to people that are looking to get into volunteering?

Oh, I highly, highly recommend it. Last year was really great when we had so many young people coming to volunteer, I was just so proud of them. Everyone that left our offices I would tell them how proud of them I was. They might be uni students or young people out of work that just wanted to give back. I love finding them a role that suited what they needed, one guy was missing his grandparents because they were in Melbourne and so I suggested the community visitor scheme to him. It puts such a smile on their faces and also that they can then brighten somebody’s day in the community too.

 

Now a little bit about you. What were you doing before volunteering?

I was in hotel management for 35 years. I was the group financial controller and director for Outrigger Australia, which is the Hawaii chain for six years. Then before I came to VGC I was liaison manager and building manager for the gold tower at Crown Plaza for 13 years. Only two weeks back I was actually gobsmacked that I had a call that I had been nominated and won an award for the4 Community Achiever Award. But back to how I got into volunteering. I made the choice after 10 months of self-isolation with all the lockdowns that I really wanted to give back hence bringing me to VGC. Being in the hospitality industry for over thirty years it makes you want to give back to the community.

 

What do you get up to in your free time? 

Swim. I’m in a swim club called the sharks which is funny because I don’t really like sharks at the best of times, I definitely like training in the pool though. I train four times a week, doing 3-4 kilometres every session. I used to be a swimmer 20 years ago and then I decided to get back into it. I really enjoy the encouragement I get from everyone at my club, if it hadn’t been for that I wouldn’t have fallen back into it. Other than that I love my gardening and being outside.

 

Favourite country to visit?

When I was younger I had the opportunity to work in Hawaii for a whole year at one of the resorts there. Then I ended up working for Outrigger Hawaii so it came full circle. I’ve been sailing since I was eighteen so back in my sailing years I also did sailing in Tahiti for three months which I loved. I’ve done about thirty cruises as well, one of them was a 3-month cruise ship that went right over to Japan and all of the islands around there.

 

 

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