Volunteers make a difference
In the lead up to May’s National Volunteer Week, the City of Onkaparinga would like to thank its 500 registered volunteers for their generous contribution to 32 programs.
Volunteers are invaluable. Libraries benefit. Art centres benefit. Youth, seniors and the environment benefit. Even the aesthetics of the region flourish under their care. But mostly the community benefits in ways that cannot be measured.
“In addition to helping deliver a wide range of services across the city, volunteers help resolve the impact of stress, health, disability and loneliness,” says Mike Feszczak, the council’s HR Business Partner-Volunteer Management.
Cara George [pictured] is one such volunteer, having served at Wakefield House Positive Ageing Centre for nearly four years. When she arrived Cara’s goal was to give, but what she has received in return has far surpassed her expectations.
Training, mentoring, and friendships have seen the 26-year-old’s skills and confidence blossom and today she is a valued member of the team.
“Cara is a friendly face at the forefront of the centre,” says Friendship Club coordinator Nikki Chadburn.
“She answers the phones, welcomes clients, shows visitors around, and helps to coordinate the lunchtime service.
“And the Friendship Club members love her. She’s young with a young person’s opinions which makes for healthy discussions and a few laughs, and she often helps clients navigate Google to find where they’ve lived over their lifetime, which sparks conversations and keeps memories alive.
“It’s very good; it’s all about social interaction.”
For Cara, social interaction enriches her volunteering work.
“I love being here,” she says. “I’ve made a lot of good friends and I’m so grateful to Nikki and Verna [Saunders, coordinator of Wakefield House]. They’ve helped me grow in confidence and guided me. I still have a lot to learn but I’ve come a long way.”
There are over 80 different roles across the council’s volunteer program, with a wide variety of current vacancies. To find out more or to apply click here.
Wakefield House Positive Ageing Centre volunteer Cara George is one of the many volunteers who give generously to the Onkaparinga community.