Malakai* is a bright young First Nations teenager and was referred to the Stand As One Mentoring Program in early 2023. Spending most of his early life living with his mother and […]
National Volunteer Week – Meet Helen!
National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering. This year’s theme is ‘Better Together’, and appropriately so, as together we accomplish so much more.
At this time of year, we come together to recognise and celebrate our wonderful volunteers for all the ways they contribute to SHINE for Kids.
To mark National Volunteer Week, we are putting some of our many incredible volunteers in the spotlight, please meet …. Helen!
Helen: Child & Family Centre, Cessnock
Why did you choose to be a volunteer with SHINE for Kids?
I was doing something else at the prison and saw the SHINE for Kids house, I asked about it to someone but he didn’t know much about it, all he said was it was about the persons in custody and family.
So I decided to find out about it and the rest is history – that’s why I’m here today.
What does working at SHINE for Kids mean to you?
SHINE for Kids mean a lot to me, it took a while to get to know the children and they need to have trust in us too.
It’s lovely to see them smile, laugh and play games, reading books and colouring in stencils, which they all love to do.
That makes us happy. You feel that you’ve made a positive impact and difference to their lives.
How long have you been at SHINE for Kids?
I’ve been doing SHINE for Kids for ten years. Working with other volunteers, getting on with them, getting to know them.
It’s not about yourself. It’s what you can do for others.
What has been your most memorable moment?
I did help a family with a child and supported the mum and child, while the father was inside. During visits the child was very shy and wouldn’t talk. The mother said that she could talk but won’t while at the prison, only smile. We’d play games together and colour in stencils, lots of smiles but no words.
One day after several weeks and in visits, the child ran up to me and hugged me. The following week she started to talk to me, which thrilled the mum and dad.
Outside of SHINE for Kids, in my role as a Salvation Army worker, I was able to provide extra support after the mother came into the office one day. Through my Salvation Army role I was able to provide ongoing support to the family after the father had been released from custody.
One day they came in to my work to thank me for everything that I had done for them. They said that I had made a big difference to them and had provided help when they needed it.
What impact do you think you have made?
Knowing that you were able to help and support children during what would have been a very emotional time for them and knowing that in a small way you were able to help them. Knowing that they have moved on, with their family and their life.
While you’re here, we need your help. Our amazing volunteers can only do so much, we also rely on the support and kind donations of the community to continue to run our many programs across NSW, Vic, WA, Qld and the ACT.
It’s only with continued support that we can be there to reach out to and walk beside children and families as they navigate one of the toughest times in their lives. We are changing futures, one child at a time. Evey bit counts.
Please donate today. Thank you!
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