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Volunteer Wellington

  • Andrew's story     7 September 2016
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    Andrew has been dancing since he was a two-year-old. A performing arts course at Whitireia was a natural progression for developing his talents after leaving school. But then there was a lull. What to do next was the big question?

    Andrew’s sister Condios encouraged him to have an interview at Volunteer Porirua after her own positive experience. Andrew was surprised by the interview process. It was actually enjoyable – and interesting. He took a role with Te Riu o Whitireia – School Community Iwi Liaison , which involved remedial reading three times weekly with two young Samoan students at Mana College. Mana College staff were quick to observe Andrew’s skills and asked if he would also consider teaching a Samoan cultural group. This is now happening regularly; as is additional mentoring with his two students.

    ‘Before I came in to find this volunteering role I was quite lazy. Didn’t have much to do. It was getting too boring.’ The word ‘boring’ is definitely not part of Andrew’s vocabulary now.

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  • Julia's story     7 September 2016
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    I began looking for a volunteering position to help me meet new people, make friends and get involved in the local community.

    When I saw that Special Olympics Wellington basketball team needed a coach, I jumped at the opportunity. Prior to moving to New Zealand I played basketball socially and throughout my school years, I really miss playing when I moved here. So, this was a perfect fit for what I was looking for - the opportunity to teach, to get exercise and to make friends

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  • Okesene's story     31 August 2016
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    Okesene Faraimo lost his job with the railways after 25 years as an electrical engineer. ‘At first I was angry losing my job but then I thought this could be my opportunity to work with people – to get into social work.’ Okesene went back to school and completed a certificate in social work. But after that … ‘how to go about finding my feet in a new sphere?’

    Through Volunteer Porirua he found a volunteer role with Wesley Community Action in Cannons Creek, Porirua. Then like a well-planned jigsaw puzzle

    everything fell into place. His confidence was restored with the interesting, challenging work involved. As his volunteering assignment progressed a permanent social work position came up at Wesley. Okesene had proved himself and was of offered the job.

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  • Sharleen's story     29 August 2016
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    Sharleen, 45, has Down syndrome. Eryn Gribble, her community support worker from Alpha Art Studio, is also Kirsty’s friend and, last year, suggested that Kirsty, in her role as manager of the Kilbirnie Opportunities for Animals store, and Sharleen, as a volunteer, might be able to work together. Eryn says she’s been impressed by the way Sharleen has remembered allthe steps involved in sorting the clothes. “She has them down pat.” Sharleen is a valued member of the team, as Kirsty says, " Once she’s ‘on task’, she’s amazing. Shar knows this is her job and that’swhat she does.'

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  • Bright Shao's story     29 August 2016
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    Bright Shao, newly arrived from Liaoning Province in China’s north-east and is seeking work as a web-developer. Between job interviews, Bright – the anglicised version of his name, Liang – has opted to volunteer with the elderly, because he badly misses his grandparents.

    At first, Bright and Moira Reid make an unlikely pair, but, in talking about their families and learning what else they have in common, “we’ve found we’re not very different,” says Mrs Reid. “We’re just people.” Bright says talking one-on-one with an older Kiwi, is also a good way to learn about New Zealand culture and improve his English. “But I want to do this – volunteering – my whole life. I want to do something meaningful.

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  • Gary's story     24 August 2016
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    Volunteer Wellington connects people with communities.

    Gary Delahunty, 51, lived on the streets for 32 years. He’s not seen his family for 40. Two years ago, however, Wellington’s Suzanne Aubert Compassion Centre, and others, helped him

    into a council flat. It was a turning point in a life he admits has been “really bad” at times.

    As a “streetie”, he often ate at the Centre’s Soup Kitchen. Gary still eats there, but now with the support of Volunteer Wellington he volunteers there twice weekly.

    At the Soup Hub, Gary supports those needing to use a computer to, for example, prepare a CV. Gary is also part of Tangata Whaiora, akin to a consumer users’ group, which Compassion Centre managers consult when they need the advice of those who visit.

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