23 May 2018
Volunteers are the backbone of many organisations, including OzChild, and without them many programs and services would cease to exist.
They are crucial to the work that OzChild does, helping support children and families through our Volunteer Family Support Program which is run in conjunction with the Mornington Peninsula and Cardinia Shire Councils.
Members of the community volunteer for many different reasons.
Having MS hasn’t stopped OzChild volunteer Glenn Cleary donating his time, in fact it was the reason he decided to become a volunteer.
“As a person that has had MS for many years, I had been the recipient of assistance from volunteers whether they be, family, friends or other caring members of the community more than once,” Glenn said.
“After completing my Diploma in Community Services which involved some volunteering work with some older intellectually disabled clients and seeing the joy that I was able to bring to them, I decided that I would like to broaden my volunteering experiences.
“I have now been volunteering for over three years with different organisations including OzChild.”
There are many reasons why people volunteer such as personal satisfaction, connection to community, to gain skills, to keep busy when no longer working, and family tradition.
For Glenn, he chose to volunteer with OzChild because he had always enjoyed spending time with children and they seemed to enjoy spending time with him. He wanted to help younger people with their lives, and at the same time give back to the community that were there to help him in his times of need.
“I know how important it is for children to have a good role model in their life and I felt that I would fit that profile,” he said.
Glen spends two hours a week volunteering with OzChild assisting a nine-year-old with the challenges of assimilating to everyday life.
“I am currently playing lots of games – card games, board games, and even a computer game every now and then,” Glenn said
“I have also helped my young friend with building a vegetable garden, spent time playing on the trampoline and just generally having fun,” Glenn said.
While there have been many special moments for Glenn during his time as an OzChild volunteer the one that stands out the most so far was in about the third week as he was doing some gardening and his young friend just out of the blue put his hand on my shoulder and said, “I like you”.
Glenn also volunteers his counselling skills at the Mount Eliza Neighbourhood House where he assists with a program called The Monday Club that runs twice a week to provide social support interaction and development for people in the community who are feeling isolated and lonely.
Glenn said he gets great satisfaction from volunteering.
“I get a great thrill being able to help all sorts of people from my young OzChild friend, people I help through my counselling and my older friends that I get to share lunch and some conversation with every week at the Neighbourhood House,” Glenn said.
Glenn recommends anyone thinking about volunteering to choose an area of volunteering that they will enjoy so that it is fun not work.
“They should stop thinking about becoming a volunteer and just do it, it will be one of the most rewarding things they can ever do,” he said.
If you have a few free hours and thinking of volunteering with OzChild you can find more information on the website.
If you live in the Shire of Cardinia and interested in finding out more about the Positive Horizons Volunteer program, contact Claire Masterson via email.
For the Mornington Peninsula Volunteer program, contact Moira Treacy via email.