National Volunteer Week, 11–17 May 2009, is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our communities.
Meet Ms Fay Shoveller, a community-minded BCS volunteer who has changed lives, even her own, through volunteering.
At 58 years of age, Fay lost her husband and began to question how she would go on living without him.
“I didn’t know what to do. It was so hard, the grieving process was bad and I thought I just have to do something with my life, to make me feel better.”
Volunteering was the answer for Fay, now 72, who volunteers every Thursday and fortnightly on a Friday at BCS Warena Centre, a residential aged care facility located in Bangor, in Sydney’s south-east.
“I’m a singer, so I went back to church and loved singing the hymns. But at the end of each service instead of staying for morning tea I would run out the door. I was so shy,” said Fay.
“Finally, a church friend asked me to come and accompany her at BCS Warena Centre, as she played the piano during chapel.”
“When I think of how shy I was. Volunteering has grown me.”
As a valued volunteer enriching the lives of those around her, Fay recently won the 2008 Hughes Community Awards, after being nominated by BCS Warena Centre Volunteer Coordinator, Ms Su Little.
“Fay is unbelievably willing, pleasant, efficient and reliable. You just know that she loves elderly people – and it makes sense, she is so personable,” said Ms Little.
The Hughes Community Awards recognises outstanding contributions to community life in the Federal Electorate of Hughes. The award was presented to Fay in February by Federal Member for Hughes, Mrs Danna Vale MP.
“Since I’ve been going to Warena, I just feel so blessed and I really think that whatever you give as a volunteer, you get ten fold back. I absolutely love going there. I feel like the residents are part of my family. I would recommend it to anybody,” said Fay.
Even though chapel starts at 10.00am, the residents have begun arriving earlier, and with Fay, everyone warms up their voices, ready to sing much loved old hymns.
Following chapel and after assisting with morning tea, Fay leads the residents in a relaxation class. In addition to some little exercises, the class has turned into something of a book club as Fay reads short stories to the residents.
“One of the residents enjoys chapel and loves my stories so much, she has said to me, ‘I tell my family that Thursday is the best day of the week!’”
Fay also makes herself available for special occasions at BCS Warena Centre, such as parties or bus trips, while also volunteering for Super Senior and her local church outreach program at Menai Baptist Church.
BCS salutes and says "Thank You" to the 800 dedicated volunteers who serve across our sites and programs every day.
To find out more about volunteer opportunities at BCS, please call Karen Corby, Volunteer Liaison Officer on (02) 9023 2662.