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They’re the trio that has given a collective 75 years of their lives volunteering at AnglicareSA’s Magdalene Centre.

But now, long-serving volunteers Adrienne, Jane, and Helen have decided it’s time to retire.

“I enjoy being able to help people.”

Jane, Volunteer, AnglicareSA

Employees and volunteers – both past and present – gathered to farewell the women, sharing stories of their generosity not just with those needing assistance at the Magdalene Centre, but also with training and mentoring employees and other volunteers over the years.

Even after decades working at the Magdalene Centre, Adrienne, Jane, and Helen have never lost sight of their altruistic motivations for volunteering.

“Every week, I get a highlight from volunteering and being able to make a difference in someone’s life,” said Helen, who has been volunteering at the centre for nearly 20 years.

Jane, who volunteered as a receptionist for 25 years said: “I enjoy being able to help people.”

Adrienne, a parishioner at St Michael’s Mitcham Anglican Church, started volunteering at the Magdalene Centre three months after it opened 30 years ago.

She said that while she had seen changes in location and services over the years, one thing had remained the same – the impact that being there for someone could have on their wellbeing.

“Listening can seem like a tiny thing, but it truly makes a difference in someone’s life.”

Adrienne, Volunteer, AnglicareSA

Emergency Assistance Coordinator Jill Rivers said that the women had a heart for the community, and this, coupled with their years of service, would be why they will be so missed.

“The ladies are always responsive to those in need,” Jill said.

“They have a wide reach in the community and love interacting with the people who come in for assistance. With the ladies moving on, a large part of the history of the Magdalene Centre will be lost.”

Emergency Assistance Team Leader Sonyia Cannon echoed the impact of the retiring trio.

“They’ve got hearts as big as Australia – just huge hearts.”

Sonyia Cannon, Emergency Assistance Team Leader, AnglicareSA

“They are here for the community and make the world better. They’re a smile a minute.”

What are the trio’s plans now that they have hung up their volunteering boots?

“Sleeping in on Tuesday mornings,” Helen said.

“We all have busy lives and have plenty to do,” Jane said.

At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people experiencing vulnerability.

We have lots of great volunteering opportunities across our services. If you’re keen to help others, then click here.

Working full-time as a School Services Officer (SSO), studying to be a drama teacher, and volunteering with AnglicareSA’s Star Bear program, Seb is passionate about working with children and making a positive impact in their lives.

“A lot of people ask me why I would work five days a week with children and then volunteer to spend all weekend with them too,” Seb laughed.

“But I enjoy working in schools. Children are so fascinating, and teach me a thing or two.”

Funded by donors and almost entirely run by volunteers, AnglicareSA’s Star Bear program provides free weekend camps three times a year to support children and their families experiencing grief and loss.

The Star Bear camp provides grief support for children aged from six to 13 years, while Star Bear Family camps cater for families with children and young people aged from five to 17 years.

Seb is a trained volunteer mentor and works one-on-one with a different child at each camp to help them in their journey through grief and loss.

“I love that the camp teaches children that everyone goes through grief and they are not alone in their emotions,” Seb said.

“While everyone is there because they’ve lost someone, how they process grief differs.

“I hope each camper I mentor has a great time on camp, but also takes that positive experience and makes it a permanent mindset after the camp.”

With the support of volunteers like Seb, the Star Bear program has supported around 1,100 children and their families since 2002.

Seb said the program was about more than simply providing a safe environment for children and young people to process their grief – it was also about helping them feel like kids again. 

“While there is a serious side to the camp, the campers are also there to have fun with activities such as sports, games, arts and crafts, and tubing. I’ve done my fair share of running and tiring myself out,” he said with a laugh.

Seb said volunteering at Star Bear had been transformative and encouraged others to give it a go.

“Volunteering has been such a wonderful experience so far,” he said.

“I’ve met so many amazing volunteers who I am lucky enough to call my friends, and it is rewarding to know that I have been able to create a positive experience for the campers.”

From 20-26 May 2024, it is National Volunteer Week – a time to celebrate and recognise the amazing contributions volunteers make to our community. At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need.

AnglicareSA is looking for volunteers like Seb to join the Star Bear program and make a difference in the lives of families experiencing grief and loss. To be a Star Bear volunteer, you do not need to have experienced grief or loss, but you will need some security checks to complete training modules. AnglicareSA will support you in obtaining these.

To register your interest in volunteering or to seek further information, please email [email protected]

For Maggie and Mary, volunteering is the perfect fit.

“I grew up in a family focused on giving back, and I think that encouraged me to be an active volunteer,” Maggie said.

Mary added: “You get so much out of volunteering – meeting people, hearing their stories and being able to help them.”

The pair volunteer at AnglicareSA’s Thread Together service, which provides people in need with brand-new clothes that would otherwise end up in landfill.

For Mary, her love of textiles and professional background in textile restoration made volunteering at Thread Together sound intriguing.

“I’ve worked with textiles all my life and hated the idea of clothes going into landfill,” Mary said.

“I loved the concept of being able to help provide people in need with decent clothes that will last them a long time, while making an effort to stop textile waste.”

Maggie, who has been volunteering at Thread Together for nine months, said her career as a paediatric emergency doctor caring for others naturally lent itself to volunteering.

“I have worked with many adults and teenagers experiencing homelessness and also within the domestic violence space,” Maggie said.

“I retired last year and wanted to continue to connect with and help the vulnerable groups of people I used to care for.”

Mary-left-and-Maggie-right-Thread-together-volunteers stand in front of the Thread Together mobile van.

With the support of volunteers like Mary and Maggie, the Thread Together service has clothed more than 29,000 South Australians since 2018.

Maggie and Mary agreed the program was about more than simply providing clothes to people in need.

“Brand-new clothes give people confidence and a sense of dignity,” Maggie said. “And the best part is that the clothes are theirs – they’re not second-hand or unfashionable.”

“It is also vital for our customers to have someone who can help them find new clothes without judgement.”

Mary said: “Some customers had never had an opportunity to choose their own clothes through other providers.

“They just wear whatever they have been given,” Mary said. “To be able to come in and be given the opportunity to browse like they’re in a boutique and choose clothing that represents them is so important.”

She said volunteering never goes out of style and encouraged more people to give it a go.

“There are so many services that are under-supported and under-funded,” Mary said. “Without volunteers, they just wouldn’t happen.”

From 20-26 May 2024, it is National Volunteer Week – an important time to celebrate and recognise the amazing contributions volunteers make to our community. At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need.

We have lots of great volunteering opportunities across our services. If you’re keen to help others, then click here.

AnglicareSA’s Westbourne Park Residential Aged Care site is like Lynne’s second home.

“I feel like I have always been a part of this place,” Lynne said.

For more than 20 years, Lynne has been actively involved at the site – first as an employee, then as a volunteer when she retired.

A Westbourne Park local, there was no other place that Lynne would prefer to volunteer. Passionate about her community, she knew she could make a difference.

“I have an ability to interact with residents and find it to be my passion,” she said.

“Despite retiring, I was still returning to the site regularly to visit the residents I once cared for. I thought I should officially become a volunteer so I could continue catching up with the staff and residents.

“Westbourne Park was the obvious choice – this is where I feel completely comfortable.

“It’s rewarding as a volunteer to see the residents and know what I do makes a difference.”

Now, you’ll see Lynne – or maybe you’ll hear her singing echoing down the halls first – having a ball with the residents at her two monthly programs, Morning Tea with Friends, and Sing-along. 

“I try to run programs that encourage the residents to reminisce,” Lynne said.

Volunteering in aged care has been a wonderful experience for Lynne and she encourages everyone to give it a try.  

“The residents in aged care are just like you or me, except they’ve lived a longer life,” she said.

“Everyone should think about the skills they have and how they could use them to volunteer.”

Customer Wellness Coordinator Jennifer Pilling said the Westbourne Park team were grateful to have a volunteer like Lynne who makes such a difference with each visit.

“Lynne has dedicated so much of her time to care for others at Westbourne Park,” Jennifer said.

“She is wonderful with the residents and makes each one feel special and welcomed.”

You can Register Your Interest online here, or alternatively view our current volunteer opportunities here.

Ashini, 23, has a busy schedule – in addition to full-time study as a nursing student, she also finds the time to volunteer every Thursday morning at AnglicareSA’s Magdalene Centre.

While Ashini has only been at AnglicareSA for a month, she’s no stranger to volunteering.

“Before I moved to Australia for my studies, I used to volunteer in Sri Lanka,” Ashini said.  

“I truly have a passion for helping people – it’s why I volunteer and want to be a nurse.”

As a volunteer in emergency assistance, Ashini works closely with people in need, helping to provide food, pharmacy vouchers (for prescribed medication), or referrals to other support services such as financial counselling.

She said her experience has been rewarding and taught her some valuable skills.

“I get satisfaction out of being able to work with those experiencing hardship to get them the support they need,” Ashini said.

“Volunteering has improved my communication skills and taught me how to remain calm under pressure and empathise with others. These are skills I can draw on in my future career as a nurse.”

Ashini is calling on more young people to get involved and volunteer.  

“It’s the perfect time to volunteer because you have the energy and capacity to help others,” she said.  

“Think about what you want to get out of volunteering and pick a suitable activity.”

Sonyia Cannon, Emergency Assistance Team Leader at the Magdalene Centre, said that it is encouraging to see young people like Ashini volunteer their time to help others.

“It is inspiring to see the next generation of young people so eager to dedicate their time to help change lives,” Sonyia said.

“Ashini has a willingness to support our community and learn as much as possible to better assist people with the service we provide. 

“She is a pleasure to work with and is respected by all who work with her.” 

At AnglicareSA, we’re proud to have around 300 volunteers who give their time to support people in need. Volunteers are an integral part of our support services — their generosity and commitment enable us to deliver a broad range of services to the South Australian community.

You can register your interest online by clicking here, or view our current volunteer opportunities here.