Volunteers are in very high demand in Armadale, and local organisations are taking this year’s National Volunteer Week as an opportunity to show just how important they are to the community.
EdConnect is a national organisation with a very strong presence in the Armadale area, and are in need of more volunteers.
The organisation – which connects volunteers with schools and students across the area – hosts programs at many local schools, including Clifton Hills Primary School.
Volunteer Deidre Wright has volunteered with students at the school for since 2005, and can’t talk any more highly of what she does.
“It’s incredibly rewarding, especially when you can see the difference you’re making in a student’s day,” she said.
“You’re not coming in to tell them what they should be doing, instead you’re usually just sitting with them, having a talk and seeing what they are feeling or doing.
“It’s amazing what you can achieve through just that sometimes.”
Ms Wright, who worked in the UK as a teacher for more than 20 years, said the volunteer work she does connects her with people and groups she may not have otherwise met.
“I’d recommend volunteering to anyone and everyone,” she said.
“There’s no-one who can’t get involved somehow, and there’s so many different areas to cover.
“I’ve always loved working with students, and I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to do that through EdConnect. Especially those people who might not get out as much – older people, for instance – it gives you the ability to change that.”
Ms Wright has one-on-one, hour-long sessions with particular students. They’re not necessarily students in need of academic help; any student who is struggling has the choice to be mentored by an EdConnect volunteer.
“Many of the kids just need someone to talk to,” she said.
“This being a very busy town, there’s a lot of kids who have both parents who work, and are just looking for someone to talk to.
“There’s been parents who have written me letters, telling me how thankful they are for that. I can’t describe how good that feels.”
EdConnect matches volunteer mentors with over 5000 students across the country, and are always looking for more help.
“We connect volunteers who want to make a difference,,” EdConnect South Metro Liason Officer Julie Mullett said.
“The variety of volunteering roles available include, mentoring a student one on one, general classroom support, library and canteen assistance and general upkeep of kitchen garden projects.
“You don’t need to have specific skills, just a desire to help.”
Volunteer Week runs from May 21-27. Go to edconnectaustralia.org.au or call Julie Mullett on 94448646 for more information and to get involved.