Setting the path to volunteering from a young age

For 24-year-old Bethany from Hoppers Crossing, the joy and energy she gives as a LINK volunteer is obvious.  The impression she leaves with every outing with the LINK clients is beyond her youthful years.

One word which describes Bethany and that is ‘busy’.

Bethany is currently a landscaper, having studied Arts and international Studies at University as well as having a background in social science, intercultural communication.  Bethany is not only a volunteer at LINK, she also works with students of refugee and asylum seeker background to assist them with their homework as well as volunteering at the Midsumma Festival, which is Melbourne’s annual LQBTQIA+ arts and culture festival helping at a number events held across Melbourne.

Bethany’s LINK journey

Since February 2022, Bethany has dived into her LINK volunteering role by hosting 10-20 clients on various outings including lunches at Williamstown, visits to Werribee Mansion as well as Morning Melodies.  Bethany is also a driver and a driver assistant, making Bethany a volunteer queen at LINK!

At 24, Bethany is at the beginning of her working life, but understands the sorts of skills that are needed to become a volunteer.

“Most of the clients who use the LINK services are keen for a chat so I think it is important to have good conversational skills and learning about the individual clients and their specific needs,” Bethany says.

“I also think being an empathetic and caring person by nature has been necessary in this role. I can anticipate what our clients might need to feel comfortable and know the right questions to ask at the right time to make sure everyone is being looked after.

“To be a volunteer, it is also important to also just go with the flow. It seems in this line of work, it can be almost impossible to follow a schedule, unexpected things pop up and in the long run, it helps you if you are aware these won’t always go to plan and to just be prepared for things to change.

“Having patience is significantly important too, although I am fairly new to this, maintaining a calm, cool and collected attitude has helped me maintain patience when things haven’t gone exactly to plan.”

For the love of volunteering

For Bethany, volunteering gives her a sense of community as well as assisting those who may be experiencing isolation and loneliness.

“I love meeting new people and hearing their stories. I love learning about people and what their different life experiences. At LINK, you really get to know the clients – there’s a few cheeky ones who always give me a good laugh! I think I get as much out of it as they do,” Bethany says.

“On a larger scale, knowing the outings at LINK can be some of the only socialising some of them have on for the week, it is very rewarding knowing I am contributing to addressing the issue of social isolation that so many of the elderly people in our community experience.”

Volunteer values

“I think at a time where things in the world can be so uncertain and unsettling having a place to go every week where you are a part of a community, and you can connect with people is incredibly important for our mental health. I know for me; I can come home from the outings feeling exhausted but also quite content and often feel incredibly grateful for the interactions I have had with the clients throughout the day,” Bethany says.

“One of my goals this year was to focus more on gratitude, so I have been writing in a gratitude journal daily and I think after every outing I have come home and written something about ad interactions that I had with one of the clients.

“Anyone who is thinking about volunteering with LINK to just give it a go! The team have all been incredibly supportive and everything that has come from volunteering with LINK has been extremely positive.”

Setting the path to volunteering from a young age For 24-year-old Bethany from Hoppers Crossing, the joy and energy she gives as a LINK volunteer is obvious.  The impression she leaves with every outing with the LINK clients is beyond her youthful years. One word which describes Bethany and that is ‘busy’. Bethany is currently […]