When Jeanne’s father passed away 11 years ago, she had a void in her life. She wanted to do something for other people, like she used to for her father. So a couple years later she became a volunteer with CatholicCare to heal her heart, and consequently she also healed many others. CathlolicCare volunteers provide social support for people who are elderly and living independently in their homes or in nursing homes across Sydney.
At age 66, Jeanne now enjoys retirement from work as an accountant, is happily married with three loving children and she has one beautiful grandchild with one more on the way. Jeanne has had a fortunate life and just wants to give back some of the good that she has received. Once a fortnight Jeanne volunteers her time to visit a regular client in her home, and brings a little bit of happiness into her life.
“I feel happy helping people and making a difference in their lives. They look forward to seeing me and I look forward to seeing them.
“Sometimes I take my client out to give her a break from being in the house, we go out for a meal or to the movies. We have long chats and reminisce about her life, I listen to her stories and I share some of my own” says Jeanne.
Every year Jeanne enjoys taking clients to CatholicCare’s annual ‘Christmas in July’ volunteer event. She remembers: “My client loves dancing but she never goes, so at lunch I picked up her hand to dance. She was so happy and we both had a very memorable day.”
Volunteers like Jeanne are an invaluable asset to the organisation and to the lives of the people they so positively effect. Last year CatholicCare volunteers contributed almost 9,000 hours of support to our ageing community, which is the value of almost 4.5 full-time support workers. CatholicCare’s Volunteer Coordinator, Samantha, understands the value of volunteers and the struggles many older people face.
“Clients often feel depressed from being isolated and lonely in their homes. Sometimes they have lost close family members and don’t receive many visitors. CatholicCare volunteers help heal that void by bringing companionship and happiness back into their lives and connecting them again with their community.”
With over 300 clients and a dedicated team of 120 volunteers, we need more kind-hearted people like Jeanne to assist our ageing community.
If you have the ability to volunteer your time to support people who feel isolated and vulnerable, please call us on 13 18 19.