We have volunteers that work in classrooms, in admin work, in our homelessness space, on short projects, in art programs, in house hunting, food rescue and in our Youth Leadership Team.

We believe that volunteering should be a rewarding experience, that also benefits the volunteer for what they put in. Many volunteers choose to spend time with us while they are studying social work, youth work or a related field, to add to their experience. We have recently had 3 volunteers who were able to translate their commitment into paid work.

Read more: Volunteering leads to career stepping stone for Tina

Skilled volunteers have offered their time and expertise to consult on projects and provide professional support. This year Azi used her skills as a graphic designer to recreate the HYPA cookbook.

image comparing old and new cookbook covers

We have also been able to take on a few placement students studying psychology at university to help us develop our practice and resources, whilst also contributing to their studies.

Caitlin is working on a 20-week mentoring program that other volunteers can use when working one-on-one with young people. Caitlin said,

“This has probably been the best experience of my whole degree. In this internship, I have found I really don’t care about the grade, I just care about my handbook and how it’s going to help people.”

Zahni completed a Consumer Reference Group Framework, to provide some structure to groups of clients and users that help inform our practice. This has already been useful in tendering for further services.

Alex worked in our homelessness space, shadowing and assisting case managers. When the workplace changed due to COVID-19 restrictions, Alex then began a research project, developing a Lived Experience Framework. This tool helps us in collecting and using user experiences to improve our programs and services. Alex has now secured a role in our NDIS team as a Support Worker and we are thrilled to be able to keep him around.

Jess has completed almost 1,000 placement hours over the last year at Trace-A-Place and Studio West. She was so passionate about helping young people who experience homelessness, that we were able to offer her a paid casual position at Trace-A-Place. Jess has also since been able to join our NDIS team as a Support Worker.

Jack holding his volunteer manual

Jack transformed our volunteer training package and handbook, incorporating psychology and positive wellbeing practices. The end result was very professional, engaging and will be used as we onboard all future client-facing volunteers. Jack said,

“Very glad I got this opportunity. Thank you so much [Meriki Webber, SYC Volunteer Coordinator], you’ve been amazing as a supervisor and I’ve learned a lot from you. Feels good to be done and I’m happy with the final product.”