(08) 8269 9333 stateoffice@lutherancare.org.au

Volunteers brighten someone’s day

Volunteers brighten someone’s day

Every week we are grateful for our Lutheran Care volunteers, but this being National Volunteer Week, (20-26 May), it’s an extra special opportunity to remind them how important they are!

Lutheran Care Chief Executive Officer Rohan Feegrade says, “We are blessed to have approximately 300 unique and selfless individuals who volunteer their time, skills and enthusiasm”. 

“While the real value of volunteering is without measure, our volunteers’ generosity in sharing their time to our organisation equates to approximately 40,000 hours of kindness – time that we appreciate immensely and that allows our services to continue operating and offering support and care to the growing number of individuals and families who reach out to us each day in crisis or distress,” Mr Feegrade adds. 

Of our volunteers, just over half (53 per cent) support our six op shops instore or in our donation distribution centre. Other Lutheran Care programs volunteers support include the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme, Family Zone and Emergency Relief, and we also have volunteers who undertake various administrative roles. 

The average age of a Lutheran Care volunteer is 59 years, with our youngest volunteer being just 12 and our oldest, a young-at-heart 95! 

Today, we’re shining a light on this delightful 95-year-old, Dawn, who, true to her name, has a remarkable talent for brightening the lives of those around her. 

Dawn says volunteering with Lutheran Care keeps her “out of mischief”. She has volunteered with Lutheran Care for not just one but two programs. 

Dawn began as an op shop volunteer, in Lutheran Care’s Blair Athol Op Shop on Prospect Road. She enjoyed connecting customers with the items they needed and looked forward to friendly chats with customers, other volunteers and the wider Lutheran Care team.  

Around 20 years ago, Dawn began volunteering with the Aged Care Volunteer Visitor Scheme (previously known as the Community Visitors Scheme). This heart-warming program matches friendly volunteer visitors with older people living in aged care facilities or their own homes, for friendship and connection over a visit once a fortnight. The program is rewarding for both visitors and recipients with many friendships being formed and new perspectives shared during the 30+ years Lutheran Care has delivered the program. 

While she has now retired from her op shop volunteer role, Dawn continues to get a lot of joy as a volunteer visitor. She has visited around a dozen people over the years and even received a Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for her volunteer efforts. 

Chatting comes naturally to companionable Dawn. 

“It must be my nature to like to communicate with people,” she says. 

“Apparently I’ve been given the ability to be able to do that. I’ve never thought, ‘Oh gosh, what do I say now?’” 

She has formed some close bonds with her recipients over the years. 

“I was visiting this lady in Glynde, getting on very well with her,” Dawn shares. 

“One day I had a phone call and it was the lady’s daughter saying ‘mum would like to see you’. 

“By the time I got there she had passed away. 

“That’s one of the things I feel I can be most grateful for. 

“On their dying day, someone asks to see you – a stranger. 

“It gives you the courage to carry on.” 

Because of problems with her eyesight, Dawn is no longer able to drive, but fortunately her daughter Louise, whom she lives with, can drive her to her visits. 

One of Dawn’s recipients is in her 90s and has some issues with her memory, but she and Dawn can still find plenty to talk about. 

“She likes talking about the garden, the weather… I tell her things that I can tell her. 

“Often she says her mother is coming. Obviously that is in her mind. 

“I don’t stress her out about that – I just accept it. 

“She can get muddled up, but the minute she sees me and Louise at that door, she’s straight up getting chairs ready. She knows us, she knows me. 

Dawn with her Premier’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Volunteer Service.

“That in itself is a reward. 

“You might need to repeat a question or answer at times but that doesn’t matter, she’s happy to see you.” 

Volunteering has been a good way for Dawn to remain active and connected with the community. She has had some tragedy in her life, with the passing of her husband at a young age and the recent passing of one of her daughters. However her faith, her family and her volunteering have helped Dawn get through the tough times. 

“I would say it is very rewarding work,” Dawn says. 

Outside volunteering, Dawn enjoys staying connected with technology. She uses her mobile phone and computer to stay in touch with family and also enjoy a game or two. 

Dawn is keen to continue volunteering as long as her health will allow, and while Louise doesn’t mind taking her. 

“I’ll keep going as long as I can,” Dawn says. 

Thank you to Dawn, and every one of our amazing volunteers. You help us change lives and build communities every day.

Want to join the fun? Lutheran Care warmly welcomes new volunteers to help deliver its programs and make a difference to the lives of vulnerable South Australians.  

For information about volunteering with Lutheran Care, please visit https://www.lutherancare.org.au/volunteer-with-us/