Volunteer Spotlight for National Volunteer Week: How Kellie connected with community

It’s National Volunteer Week, Australia’s largest celebration of volunteerism in the year! Volunteers are at the heart of our work, and we are thrilled to be celebrate the amazing people that kindly share their time and talents with us everyday.

Kellie is one of the hard-working volunteers at SAMESH in Adelaide. In a world that can sometimes feel overwhelming, volunteering gave Kellie an opportunity to take a breath and find comfort and connection in their local community.

This week, Kellie joined us to share more about their volunteer experience and encourage others to explore the valuable volunteer opportunities in South Australia.

How did you first get involved with volunteer work at SAMESH?

I decided to get involved in some volunteer work, primarily because of all the stuff going on in the world at the moment. It just felt a bit overwhelming. And somebody just said, “Look, a great antidote for all the stressful stuff that’s going on is just to get back to community, get back to grassroots.” And I became aware of a position to work as a cook for Poz Lunch one day a week, and I just thought that was just an ideal opportunity. So, I just thought, “Look, just get off your backside and go do something and get involved.” I’ve been doing that for a couple of months now and it’s just gone from strength-to-strength, and I just really love it. And it’s been a fantastic opportunity to engage with the community. I’m not an out-there person. I’m not a loud person, so it allows me to sort of work quietly behind the scenes and get to know people slowly and gradually.

What have been some of the best parts of your volunteering experience?

When I’m in the kitchen working away, it’s those little conversations on the side when people come in to make a cup of tea or coffee or when they just come in and ask about what’s being cooked today. It’s a great icebreaker – people from within the community come in and help with cleaning up or peeling potatoes and that’s where those small conversations begin, and it’s a fantastic way of getting to know somebody.

What does volunteering mean to you?

It’s just been fantastic, and I really value that day. It’s a day away from work, and when I get into the kitchen, it’s head down and it’s just a blur until the food is served. And it’s actually quite enjoyable. At the end of it, I’m just absolutely exhausted. But that day now, it’s absolutely sacrosanct. And with work, it’s agreed that I have that day to do the volunteer work. So, yeah, it’s something that’s kind of been a bit of a surprise to me that I gave it a go and thought I’d see where this goes, and it’s actually become something that I really value and it’s a very important day for me to have in my calendar and keep it there.

How are volunteers with SAMESH supporting our communities here in Adelaide?

I think there are a number of initiatives occurring at the moment, and I think they are really adding to the quality of community life. Yes, there’s a lot of work to do still, but from what I’m seeing, there’s definitely more of a get-together, there’s more support, and there’s a great sense of community that’s really building. I’m new to the scene, so I’m not aware of all of the difficulties, but from what I’m seeing, there’s a great vibe that’s starting to build, and it starts with small day-to-day interactions and positive interactions. And I think things are looking really, really good.

What advice would you give to someone who’s feeling nervous about getting involved in volunteer work?

Just do it. I would say give it a couple of goes and you will find something that will suit or fit your temperament and your personality. But once you do it, you won’t look back and it is just a fantastic thing to do.

If you’d like to volunteer at SAMESH, fill out the form here.

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