THE message of National Volunteers Week is “volunteering change lives and communities”, which is certainly the case at ac.care in Millicent.
Volunteers are vital in delivering ac.care’s mission of ensuring all country people have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.
Formed in the Limestone Coast over 30 years ago, the “country specialist” agency combines the efforts of staff, community partnerships and dedicated volunteers to make a difference in people’s lives.
“We are a community-based agency working with the people around us as part of their community, which shines through in the way volunteers commit to our mission and support us in contributing to improving the lives of country people,” ac.care chief executive Shane Maddocks said.
“Thank you to our volunteers, who all make a wonderful contribution to expanding our capacity to make a difference.”
The agency’s volunteers include 150 remarkable families who share their homes with over 220 children across regional eastern South Australia as foster carers, supported by ac.care.
However, volunteers also contribute to ac.care in many other ways beyond foster care, including at the Millicent Community Centre at 57-59 George Street which delivers a diverse range of services to the community, not only providing ac.care’s emergency and family support programs, but also acting as a Service SA and Services Australia agent for the town.
Community member Rose Pilven was asked 15 years ago whether she would like to volunteer at the community centre and has since also served as an employee.
“I thought it would be a challenge - it certainly was and still is,” she said, explaining the multi-purpose nature of the centre prompted her to learn diverse skills.
Volunteering has given me confidence and provides a sense of purpose - I enjoy assisting people, listening and showing kindness and understanding,” Rose said.
“When someone's situation is solved, they are so thankful and to see their smile and happiness gives me so much pleasure.”
She said a 10-year presentation was among the highlights of her time with ac.care.
Meanwhile, Jenny Morris has been an ac.care volunteer for 14 years after being impressed with the small but dedicated team at the centre.
“Everyone was friendly, helpful, understood me and encouraged me,” she said.
“They also let me contribute at a pace that suited me.”
Jenny explained volunteering not only allowed her to contribute to the community, but also her own sense of fulfilment.
“I was a very shy and nervous person, but volunteering brought me out of myself and gave me skills and confidence,” she explained.
“I am able to communicate with others, help people and know I am doing a good job.”
Jenny and Rose are among the diverse volunteers contributing to ac.care across regional South Australia.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more about contributing to the diverse agency.