Watch the video to get insight into one of our Community Transport volunteers, Ange, who does a wonderful job helping to transport some of our most disadvantaged members of the community.
Please click below to read more about our volunteers.
Allan: Eleven Years Strong
Eleven years on and Allan is as caring and compassionate as the first day he started with Whittlesea Community Connections back in 2007.
Al – as he is affectionately known at WCC – started volunteering on front desk with his wife Carol but was quickly recognised as being more suited to the Emergency Relief Assessor role. Al excelled in this role over the years as he proved to be reliable, caring, compassionate and dedicated to his community.
When asked why he has been here so long, Al says he likes observing the clients leave here happier then when they arrive which he gains a great deal of satisfaction as well as the friendly environment at WCC. The highlight over the 11 years for Al was receiving the Peter Cleland Award for Community Service because it is an award recognised only by WCC. In his spare time he loves to spend time with family and holidaying at their home in Mathoura, NSW.
Katie and Emma who work with Al said, Al really is iconic to WCC and it wouldn’t be the same without him – he is so friendly and welcoming to people, enjoys teaching others about the role sharing his wealth of knowledge gained over the years. Al is very committed and compassionate to his role going out of his way to help people in need and understanding the struggle of people, willing to advocate for clients and challenges the status quo.
WCC is very fortunate to have such a wonderful volunteer in Al who contributes a great deal to the Whittlesea community.
Steven: Connecting the Community
Steven’s enthusiasm and passion to serve the community is evident in his voice as he relates his story. During this time of need, Steven is out on WCC’s Community Bus three days a week, happily transporting people for essential medical appointments, kidney dialysis and dropping off food parcels.
Born in Singapore, Steven’s career started off in the Singapore Air Force, with overseas deployments at various airbases around South-East Asia, including Brisbane, Queensland, where he worked with the Royal Australian Air Force. That experience in Australia set him up for a future to return to the country he had fond memories of and he moved here as a skilled migrant 16 years ago.
The Air Force was a good foundation for him to specialise in aviation logistics in Australia. One of his many roles included supporting the Victoria Police Air Wing and Air Ambulance Victoria fleet of helicopters. The critical services provided by these organisations meant he was on call 24/7 should any of these helicopters become grounded and required parts. That is when Steven will swing into action to source and provide the necessary components quickly to keep the helicopters in the air and flying, a role that is both challenging but fulfilling.
After many years with the aviation industry, Steven decided to move to a more meaningful cause, an area where his passion lies, and that is community service. Eventually the opportunity came in the form of a community transport volunteer with WCC, fulfilling his desire to serve the community. Steven is also a member of the Neighbourhood Watch Whittlesea.
During this time of self-isolation, Steven will look out for his neighbours to make sure they are fine and going for evening walks with one of them regularly. He is an avid gardener and enjoys working on projects around the house. Steven’s dedication to his community is unwavering and WCC appreciates the fantastic work he is doing and has done since July last year.
Hiba: Creating a Difference
“I started volunteering with the settlement team at WCC in 2016. My role was to see clients, help them to solve their problems and to feel better about themselves. I volunteered for about a year which helped me to shape my experience and get into work with more knowledge and confidence. And now I am working full time at WCC. When I finished uni, I noticed that I need to practice what I learned and implement it to help the community and gain experience to get my dream job. I came to the reception, spoke to one of the friendly volunteer and I was invited for an information session about volunteering at WCC. After the session, I was invited again for an interview in regard to the a volunteer job that I was allocated to do.
Working at WCC has given me the ability to know other cultures and nationalities which helped me to deal with different issues and situation. And the friendly environment at work, made me feel like home. In addition, WCC runs lots of meetings that connect us with many other services in the city of Whittlesea which help us to know how we can help our client and the right place to refer them to. As well as important meetings, WCC organise trainings that covers lots of topics and issues that we deal with which help us improve our services.
Speaking another language can make a difference; client may feel more comfortable when speaking their own language. But that does not mean that WCC cannot speak your language. We have the translating and interpreting services that we use when we contact a client or during appointment so client can speak their own language and express their needs without language barriers.
Volunteering has given me the opportunity to make a difference in the community and it helped me to gain work experience and learn new skills. It also developed my personality and built my confidence by challenging myself in a supportive environment. For that reason, I believe that volunteering can be the first strong step for every young person who would like to enter the workforce with confidence, experience, and a strong personality.”
Aisha: Always Smiling
“I’m an Australian now, but my cultural background is Pakistani. I’ve been living in Australia since 2008. I’m a mother of 2 kids. I have a Masters in Food and Nutrition, due to personal circumstances I changed my field and went into community services. I did further studies in that and then I started working as a volunteer for WCC.
I have been volunteering at WCC for almost 3 years. I usually volunteer 2 days per week as an ‘Emergency Relief Assessor’.
I lived in Thomastown and was there 5 years. I started working for WCC during that time. But then we got our own place in Wollert in Aurora.
I enjoy the parks and the greenery. We are closer to nature in Wollert. Every time you drive around you see a nice view. This calms you down. I feel it every day!
I started working in the emergency relief (ER) department as a volunteer and I’ve been working as an ER assessor for the past 2 and a half years. And I’m still there. I’m learning every single day.
The best feeling is when there is someone in need and you are there to help them out and you are doing your best to help them out in every way. It’s remarkable when it comes to WCC. WCC is trying to help out. That’s what I’ve learnt. When I started working at WCC I didn’t realise what an emergency meant. But since volunteering I’ve learnt that it could be small or large scale. From buying groceries for someone to paying rent, paying their bills, if someone’s car has broken down or if someone is suffering from domestic violence, WCC are there to help people out. It’s amazing!
WCC has helped me understand how the community services sector works, how we are linked with other organisations, how we can refer people to other organisations and how we can help individuals.
I have learnt how to deal with people who may frustrated. The biggest thing I’ve learnt is about human behavior, our words matter a lot. When I’m talking to people, I’ve learnt that small words of encouragement can calm people down and provide comfort. I’ve been provided with ongoing training and everyone at WCC has helped me and guided me. Everyone is there to help. Everyone is very friendly. Even people from outside my team have taught me things For example, I’ve even learnt about Creeds Farm and how the Women’s Group work. My manager (Ginette) is very friendly and open. She’s always there for me.
I prefer volunteering to paid work. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. I get to help people. They tell me “thank you” or sometimes they might say “God bless you”. This job has helped me sleep better at night. I am being part of someone’s life and helping them by giving my time and energy. I don’t know if any paid job could give you this! I don’t have any plans to seek employment elsewhere. Volunteering is something every person should do in their life. You are there to give something to the community. The job is giving me lots of different training opportunities and supporting me. I’ll be able to put all of these things in my CV and it will put me in a good position to seek employment. Volunteering is something you can be really proud about! The volunteers at WCC and community services are always smiling and there’s a sense of contentment.”