It's National Volunteer Week!
Continuing with the theme of shouting out the fantastic work of our volunteers for National Volunteer Week, we caught up with wonder-woman, Catherine! She is currently a volunteer at Lighthouse and has always understood and appreciated how important having a loving home and family is for a young child. This understanding and appreciation has pushed her to give back to her community and work with the Foundation on providing that love to the vulnerable children that are in our care.
What is your role on the Volunteer Committee and what does it involve?
I am the chair of a Community Committee. We have a really fantastic group of people on our committee and as a group, we have two main functions really; to connect with and support the home through activities like dinners, home visits, and park catch-ups, and practical needs like driving lessons or working bees. Our other role is to raise money and awareness for the home and Lighthouse generally. Over the years we have run barefoot bowls afternoons, footy clinics, and movie nights - with everything we raise going towards the running costs of the home. Because we have such a great group, with everyone pitching in and offering different skills, the events are always good fun.
What led you to choose Lighthouse?
I have always known that coming from a happy, loving home was like hitting the jackpot in life, and something I was very lucky to have. I also knew that for so many other people, through no fault of their own, home is not a happy, loving, or safe place. So when I was looking to start volunteering, I was thinking about helping out with vulnerable young people who were not as lucky as I had been. Lighthouse’s model of therapeutic care is something I believe in wholeheartedly. The problems associated with neglect, trauma, and homelessness are complex and they need to be addressed with thorough, long-term, holistic care, which is exactly what the Lighthouse therapeutic model of care does.
What’s been the most memorable experience from your time with the Foundation?
There are too many to pick one but some things that stand out are The wonderful young people in the home I have met over the years. To come from such difficult backgrounds and be working so hard to build a better future is impressive and inspiring. Equally the carers are selfless, patient, and wonderful people who are also incredibly skilled at dealing with complex trauma, and somehow always manage to bring lightness and joy to the home. The longevity of the members on the committee and how well we all get along is also a real stand-out. To bring together a group of complete strangers is not always successful, but we work really well together and enjoy each other's company, and I think that comes down to having the shared value of wanting to give back and be part of something meaningful.
If you were to encourage anyone to volunteer with Lighthouse, what would you say to them?
For me, volunteering is a wonderful part of my life and as cliche, as it sounds, it is entirely true that my association with Lighthouse has given me more than I could ever give back.