I volunteer for SHINE because: I am doing my first placement and believe SHINE for Kids will give the opportunity to utilise the counselling skills I have learnt within my degree.

The most rewarding moment: I believe each moment I volunteer is rewarding on so many different levels. Watching the children interact with their mums and dads is beautiful, the joy they can still share under the most severe circumstances makes all the difference. I love when they are so proud of what they painted or have drawn and show it off to mum or dad with such enthusiasm, the moments are priceless. Being part of that process is overwhelming with joy and I love the smile on all their faces.

The most difficult situation: On a particular weekend, I picked up a grandmother and grandson from Sydney to drive them to DPFC for a visit and then pick them to return them to the airport, watching the sadness that they were both overwhelmed with was incredibly difficult. I reassured them that the bond they share cannot be broken, but the sadness was so severe. I felt sad for days afterwards. I believe that so far has been my most difficult situation I have encountered.

The most challenging time: A little girl refused to go and speak to her dad at The Melbourne Remand Centre, and this was very challenging. But with some persistence and reassurance I enabled her to reconnect with her dad, and I felt really proud of the fact I helped the family feel like a family.

I like helping others because: there is nothing more rewarding. To see someone smile because of something I did or said is worth more to me than money. One Saturday at Barwon Prison, a little girl was sad and hating being at the prison, but I was able to connect with her, play with her and made her laugh. Her smile came back and then she actually enjoyed her visit, and at the end she ran up and gave me a hug and thanked me. It was not the recognition that makes me happy, its being able to help makes me happy. It’s who I am, and who I will always be. I love every moment being a volunteer for SHINE for Kids.