May 16 - 22 marks National Volunteer Week. Advance Care Planning Australia would like to recognise the support, dedication, and effort our volunteers contribute to our program. Without them, we wouldn't be able to deliver our National Support Service, providing resources and advice to callers on all matters related to advance care planning. Our volunteers are also involved in delivering community education and acting as advocates for our organisation.
We asked our volunteers a few questions about their roles with Advance Care Planning Australia...
What does volunteering with Advance Care Planning Australia mean to you?
Volunteering with ACPA means that I am part of a process to empower and help others. It fulfils my need to contribute to a worthwhile cause and makes me feel needed. I love building connections and it’s great to be part of such a fabulous team of people. – Janette Dempsey, ACPA Community Ambassador
I have been a volunteer for more than 40 years. Volunteering for me is an important part of community engagement. Volunteering opened doors to paid, professional employment and training and I now enjoy the opportunity to share the skills gained in my professional life with the community, hopefully offering to others an opportunity to enrich their lives. – Jenny McQuirk, ACPA Community Ambassador
Volunteering with ACPA allows me to work with other like-minded people, to thoroughly enjoy their company, and to feel that, on occasions, I can make a difference to someone because I work in the ACP space! I'm proud to work under the umbrella of Austin Health and to feel supported. My volunteering puts my healthcare background to good use, as it has allowed me to understand and hopefully convince others, of the importance and necessity of ACP within a complex healthcare system. I enjoy diving into the body of knowledge surrounding ACP, and understanding the complexities of the different jurisdictions. I have enjoyed learning public speaking and virtual presentation skills and the opportunities for expression that have come my way. I remember how scared and uncomfortable I felt speaking to various groups in the early days of my volunteering. I've both laughed and cried with people attending presentations and I feel quite humbled listening to some of the circumstances related to me by callers to our Support Service. I've had some great conversations with people I don't know', and never will. I enjoy the challenge of never knowing what's going to come out of the end of that phone, and the satisfaction (not all the time, but I'm working on it) of knowing that I was able to answer the query. Above all, my volunteering keeps my mind active - probably too active! I wanted an active retirement - thankfully, I have one! – Catherine Kelly, ACPA Community Ambassador
What is your favourite thing about volunteering with Advance Care Planning Australia?
Volunteering at ACPA benefits me personally and professionally. It offers me the chance to act on my values, passions, and interests, make new friendships and create a professional network. It also gives me the chance to challenge myself in a supportive environment. And on the positive side, studies have also shown that volunteering makes us healthier and happier. – James Malachi, ACPA Community Ambassador
When I am on my support service shift, I love the feeling of not knowing what the next call might be. I love the challenge of listening carefully, choosing the right questions to ask, ensuring I give accurate information, and ensuring that the caller feels comfortable and valued. I love the chance to help people with something that can be difficult, complicated, overwhelming and emotional. –Jenny Dexter, ACPA Community Ambassador
What motivated you to begin volunteering?
I thought that volunteering would provide some intellectual stimulation - I knew there was a danger that I'd become house-proud in retirement if had too much time and not enough intellectual stimulation! After years working in health care and in the education of health professionals I'd been gradually reducing my paid work for a couple of years. But I still wanted to engage with the health care community and I wanted to contribute something to the broader community, especially if I could find a role that would utilise the knowledge and experience I'd gained during my working life. – Kate Puls, ACPA Community Ambassador
Find out more about Volunteering at Advance Care Planning Australia