2016 Annual Report - Page 32

Volunteer stories Why I volunteer at CSF Judy Caraher Lorraine Patto I joined CSF in 1990 after enquiring at reception about what they did in the community. My enquiry was met with friendliness and lots of information and then the encouragement to join. I thought, “Why not?” When I moved to the Peninsula 6 years ago, I came from a volunteering position with Monash Volunteer Resource Centre where I interviewed prospective volunteers for positions available in many organisations. I enjoyed this type of work and wanted to continue giving back something to the community that I lived in. I also find it a great way to meet people of like mind and find out what is happening at the cutting edge of where you reside. CSF makes a great difference to the community. We assist so many who may be struggling with life. We give our time and understanding but what we receive in return is equally gratifying. It’s all about people, the people we work with and those that guide us as volunteers that make for so much satisfaction. We have amazing people among us. Thinking of our clients, I am often struck by their honesty as they tell of their difficulties and hardships. Often we are left with the satisfaction and tenderness of knowing we have made a difference in their lives. Hopefully somewhere at the end of a difficult assistance session with someone, there will be smiles or even laughter after tears. I feel privileged to work with past and present staff, volunteers and clients. My life has been forever changed by the richness of the experience. Whilst we are addressing an enormous need in the community, we have our times when we stop, we celebrate and we have fun. Therefore for me, and I’m sure for many of our volunteers, it works both ways. 32 I have been a receptionist for the past couple of years with CSF and have watched this organisation step up to the challenges that today’s society faces. The clients I have met all have different stories and it is rewarding to see them leave with a smile and a thank you for what has been provided. With all the changes taking place it keeps me active and the people I work with are a dedicated group who really care about those they service. The many volunteers offer their time and their life experiences to what is a challenging area. Everyone is flexible, friendly and supportive. There is no doubt that at times, it can be confronting and challenging, but that’s what makes it interesting and rewarding. I can personally recommend CSF to anyone looking to volunteer in an area that needs people who want to make a difference to those less fortunate. The measure of a community is how it treats its most vulnerable members