Lauren Bisignano always knew she wanted to work with kids. But volunteering at Villa Maria Catholic Homes’ (VMCH) specialist school, St Paul’s College, in Kew, has solidified her dream to support children with disabilities.
December 5 is International Volunteer Day. VMCH 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, 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, click here.