Shoppers can find many pre-loved gems at Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ (VMCH) four opportunity shops. Volunteer, Tracey Taylor, says she finds purpose, friendship and fun when she helps out at the Ferntree Gully op-shop.
“I enjoy meeting different types of people. They tell you about their family and you just listen. I enjoy meeting people and talking to people,” Tracey said.
She is one of more than 600 volunteers who share their time and talents to help Catholic not-for-profit organisation VMCH support more than 7000 people across Victoria.
National Volunteer Week kicks off on May 8 and VMCH sees it as a time to say a big thank you to volunteers like Tracey who make a vital contribution to the lives of the people our organisation supports.
VMCH volunteers donate their time and talents in many roles that range from helping with activities for older people, children and adults with disability, at their opportunity shops, pastoral care and one-off events.
It is also great to know that volunteers get a lot back. Studies show that people who volunteer experience health benefits such as increased general happiness and less stress. It also combats depression and provides mental stimulation.
Eve Olejniczak volunteers at a dementia specialist unit at one of VMCH’s aged care facilities. She finds that she gets back as much as she gives when she volunteers two days a week.
“I hope I am making a difference and helping residents in some small way to help brighten up their day,” she said.
“It’s a two-way street. I am always learning. I am meeting people and making new friends.”
VMCH Volunteer Services Manager, Bronwyn Summers, said volunteers do everything from teach line dancing, run craft classes, provide friendship and practical support.
“Our volunteers give meaning and purpose to the lives of the people we support and we hope that it is reciprocated for our volunteers as well,” she said.
“We welcome volunteers from all walks of life who share our values, have time, energy, flexibility, patience and a sense of humour, who would like to be part of a team and make a huge difference,” she said.
If you would like to learn more about volunteer opportunities at VMCH call our friendly volunteer services team on 1800 036 377 or email
- About 31 per cent of Australians over 15 years volunteer, that is about six million people
- Volunteers provide 521 million hours of work to the not-for-profit sector
- About 95 per cent of volunteers say that it improves wellbeing and makes people happier
- Volunteering is associated with better mental and physical health and longevity.
(Source: Volunteering Victoria Information Sheet)