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Teen finds her calling through volunteering

December 5 is International Volunteer Day. Volunteers are vital to our work in supporting parishes and to our 50+ Catholic Social Services member organisations, which provide assistance to some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our community. In fact, 17,000+ volunteers contribute to the work of our members!
 
One such member organisation is Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH), which is lucky enough to have the support of more than 630 volunteers who donate their time and talents to brighten the lives of the older people, children and adults with disabilities, their families and carers. Lauren Bisignano always knew she wanted to work with kids but volunteering at VMCH specialist school, St Paul’s College, in Kew, has solidified her dream to support children with disabilities.
 
Lauren, who is studying speech pathology at Australian Catholic University (ACU), began volunteering at St Paul’s twice-weekly in April this year as part of the Brother O’Neill Program (encouraging ACU students to volunteer across VMCH disability, aged care and community services programs). Although volunteering is part of her course, Lauren has volunteered an extra day because she found it so rewarding.
 
“I absolutely love it and when I’ve finished my 80 hours I’d love to stay if they need me,” the 19-year-old.  Supporting teachers with classwork, supervising at recess and shadowing one of the school’s speech pathologists has made Lauren feel as though she’s making a difference. “I’ve already seen so much improvement in so many kids over a six month period, it’s amazing. I get so much joy just watching them improve and succeed. Anthony (student) said today that I was his best friend. It’s nice to feel you’re having an impact on their lives.”
 
Lauren encouraged anyone considering volunteering to give it a go. “The skills you learn and the compassion and feeling you get from giving back, you just can’t get anywhere else.”
 
If you are interested in volunteering with VMCH, call 1800 036 377 or email here. You can also find a whole list of other volunteering opportunities with our Member Organisations, here.
 
Catholic Social Service Victoria is also hoping to welcome a new volunteer to our team, to assist us in providing support to Catholic parishes as centres of service and outreach. Areas where particular help is needed include:
 
* parish liaison and relationship building, including communication with parishes about forthcoming events
* Researching and writing article for our website, newsletters and parish forums
* Organising and assisting with the delivery of Welcome the Asylum Seeker forums and Re-imagining Parish Service Expos.
 
As we commemorate International Volunteers Day, please consider being a volunteer with us! Find out more, here.
 
Photo of volunteer Lauren with student Anthony courtesy Villa Maria Catholic Homes.
 
 




 
Catholic Social Services Victoria acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Elders in each of the Communities where we work.
 
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