Volunteering brings people together and helps to build communities. In celebration of National Volunteer Week (May 16-22), we pay tribute to the dedicated volunteers who provide invaluable assistance at Carinity sites around Queensland.
Annette Close has been doing “extremely rewarding” volunteering at the Carinity Shalom aged care community in Rockhampton for six years.
“After working in administration roles in aged care for 16 years, in 2016 I enquired about volunteering but wanted to be more resident focused,” Annette said.
“I enjoy the contact with the residents and my aim is to try and make a difference to their lives. My aim each day is to make at least one resident laugh or smile. I feel if I can do this then I have achieved my reason for being there.”
Carinity Shalom Diversional Therapist, Donna Hinchliffe, says Annette is her “rock” who “puts her hand to anything and has become close to our residents.”
“It is her passion now to interact on a personal level with the residents. Annette is a kind, thoughtful, extremely intelligent, efficient and hard-working person,” Donna said.
“Last Christmas she gave up five nights to help me take the residents out to look at Christmas lights. We did three runs out to accommodate residents in wheelchairs and did not return until 9.30pm that evening.”
Jean Miller lives at the Carinity Wishart Gardens retirement village and volunteers at the adjacent aged care community, where her husband Reg lives. She says interaction with staff and residents is a “huge social plus for volunteers”.
“Volunteering just seemed a natural thing for me. When COVID began, it seemed more important to be another ‘pair of hands’ at times when staff are so busy,” Jean said.
“I am able to attend special events such as birthday mornings, Mothers’ Day, musical programs, support staff, or just sit with some residents who maybe need a little more attention.”
After realising that she “had spare time and wanted to do something to help others”, Dee Watt began volunteering at Carinity Education Southside in 2014.
“Having a daughter myself made me want to help other young girls. I was a bit nervous volunteering at first. Fortunately, everyone at Southside was very welcoming and made me feel comfortable. They included me in their activities; I did feel part of the team,” Dee said.
Dee loved supporting the students at Carinity Education Southside so much that she applied for a job there – and is now the school’s administration officer.
“The longer I volunteered, the more I knew I wanted to be a part of the Carinity organisation and work with people determined to help improve the lives of our students,” she said.
Florence Robson’s first memory of volunteering was assisting her father to deliver Meals on Wheels to people in need in Sydney during the 1960s.
The retiree has been volunteering with Carinity for 15 years and currently serves as part of the chaplaincy team at the Brookfield Green aged care community. She enjoys the opportunity “to share the Gospel with people” and “being part of a caring Christian community”.
“Everyone has a life story and most of us like to share that story. Listening to people and sharing our life experiences gives opportunities to share the love of Jesus and to pray with and for people. God has a wonderful way of bringing people together,” Florence said.
Anyone interested in volunteering to assist Carinity and the people we support can visit www.carinity.org.au/volunteer or phone 07 3550 3737.