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First time volunteers eased into volunteer workforce with help from Volunteer South West program CONNECT

Craig DuncanHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Volunteers Vinnie Butcher and Jasmin Robinson with the mannequins they got to design outfits for, and VSW program co-ordinator Susanne Becker-Hamersley.
Camera IconVolunteers Vinnie Butcher and Jasmin Robinson with the mannequins they got to design outfits for, and VSW program co-ordinator Susanne Becker-Hamersley. Credit: Craig Duncan

First time volunteers have been stepping out of their comfort zone and giving back to the community thanks to the assistance of a South West initiative.

Volunteer South West launched its CONNECT program late last year to bring people wanting to make an impact in their community to volunteer opportunities, helping build confidence and life skills in the process.

The program is supported by Volunteering WA and funded by the Department of Social Services. It takes up to five individuals into a not-for-profit organisation and supports them through several weeks in a volunteer role.

The team have been working with students from the South West Community College and the Treendale Vinnies to give volunteers their introduction to community service.

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Program co-ordinator Susanne Becker-Hamersley said they are aiming to make it easier for people to volunteer, helping navigate paperwork, inductions and assisting organisations as prospective volunteers take their first steps.

“A lot of people want to give back to the community,” she said.

“Especially new migrants, people who are experiencing long-term unemployment or someone who just needs a place where they belong. This is what they get out of volunteering.”

The current students taking part of the program have dived headfirst into to program.

Vinnie Butcher and Jasmin Robinson, both 16, are passionate designers and have taken the opportunity to dress the window mannequins with their unique style.

Jasmin said she had really enjoyed volunteering at Vinnies and will likely continue volunteering in the future.

Vinnie said she found the whole experience fun, and particularly enjoyed making outfits.

Ms Becker-Hamersley said it had been great for the students to have the opportunity to come up with their own design ideas and their help, along with all other volunteers has been invaluable to the organisation.

“We have a lot of important not-for-profit organisations in our region, and across Australia, who wouldn’t be able to open their doors without volunteers,” she said.

“Volunteering is good for everyone involved.”

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