Maurice Thaung – Volunteer Story
At LINK Community & Transport, 56-year-old Maurice is what we call the quintessential volunteer.
While working for a superannuation company four days a week, Maurice dedicated one day a week to volunteering — embracing his duties with passion and enthusiasm. As a dedicated volunteer with the Les Twentyman Foundation in their Back-to-School Program, Maurice helped organise the provision of textbooks, stationary and vouchers all over Melbourne for secondary students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
In December 2021, Maurice joined LINK as a volunteer driver where, every second Friday, he diligently transported clients to appointments — sparking conversations and creating friendships along the way. Seven months later, Maurice joined LINK full-time in the role of Business Development Manager, where he has been building relationships with local councils to extend LINK’s services to more Victorians.
The stories they share
For Maurice, the joy of volunteering is epitomised by the suite of stories that unfold in the minibus, en route to appointments or social gatherings.
“I am often captivated by the extraordinary lives my clients have lived and what they are willing to share,” Maurice says.
“For example, a female client recently shared her story of her travels to Southeast Asia in her 20s with the Peace Corps, or I met a male client who left home early to seek adventure in his teens and, now in his 70s, is a budding artist with so many life stories in between.
“I recently met a young passenger, who stood up to bullies in his school and is proudly a student council representative. These stories are inspirational, and you take their strength and tenacity with you.”
Becoming a volunteer
Maurice says that becoming a volunteer is a great experience, but it is important to understand the role and what is involved.
“With my LINK volunteering role, it is important to have sound logistics knowledge, as well as be willing to engage with people and problem solve. But the core ingredient in becoming a LINK volunteer is your capacity to listen.”
And for anyone who is keen to embrace volunteering, Maurice has three tips:
- Identify which regular days and times you are best available to make a regular commitment not just for LINK but to mentally commit yourself in your own diary and activities. Then you are giving 100% of your time while you volunteer
- Stay healthy and alert, as you have a responsibility to transport your clients to their destination, safely, every time.
- Be organised and prepared in your own way so you are comfortable with how the day will pan out (e.g., know weather conditions, dress for comfort and bring water for the day.
Maurice says that volunteering is not only about giving back to the community but also about other significant outcomes.
“The community genuinely needs assistance to ensure those who are more isolated keep connected with the world. The important tasks of attending medical appointments, shopping, school, exercise and social events require transport, and we are here for them — especially if their loved ones and carers are not available.”
Maurice says both his wife’s parents and his own parents have health and mobility issues. So he understands the value that organisations, such as LINK Community & Transport, bring to the lives of older people.
“I became a volunteer, as I have lived experience in transporting my wife’s godmother, who was 84 at the time, for a year whilst she battled bowel cancer. She lived alone and had mobility issues and didn’t want to pressure neighbours or other friends. I took her shopping, to medical appointments and haircuts before she was put into palliative care,” Maurice says.
“There are many like her and, apart from doing all these activities, I see the value in taking the time to talk and listen to these amazing older people. I hope I can play a small role in putting a smile on their faces.”
At LINK Community & Transport, 56-year-old Maurice is what we call the quintessential volunteer. While working for a superannuation company four days a week, Maurice dedicated one day a week to volunteering — embracing his duties with passion and enthusiasm. As a dedicated volunteer with the Les Twentyman Foundation in their Back-to-School Program, Maurice helped […]