During National Volunteer Week (20 – 26 May) Launch Housing is sharing stories from our volunteers to acknowledge the generous support they provide. By giving up their valuable time and expertise, volunteers support our organisation in its mission to end homelessness.
The following is the story of Hayley, a Nature Therapy Volunteer for the Children’s Program at Launch Housing Dandenong, where she finds supporting both staff and the children incredibly rewarding.
Hayley came to Launch Housing with a strong desire to work for a cause she was passionate about. With limited time in her week, the opportunity to volunteer with Launch Housing Dandenong’s Nature Therapy Program was the perfect fit.
Launch Housing Dandenong, also known as Bob’s Place, offers crisis accommodation to families, couples and singles. The site also offers a Children’s Program which was established to enhance the wellbeing of children who access Launch Housing Dandenong’s services, further supporting positive outcomes for the children’s futures.
Hayley says she enjoys working with the dedicated team who facilitate the Children’s Program. They are always on hand to help and make her feel like an important part of their team.
“Volunteering with Launch has given me that little sparkle inside, I know I’m helping others,” says Hayley.
Hayley assists in the facilitation of outdoor excursions to beaches, national parks and nature walks. She says her role is to encourage the kids to just be kids, to play and connect with the land, themselves and each other.
The positive feedback from the children, along with their genuine appreciation of people taking an interest in their wellbeing, is incredibly rewarding for Hayley.
She says: “The best feedback is that they are excited to see you again!
“To see their faces light up when they see or feel something new, like watching the tadpoles in the lake or seeing the “tallest tree ever”. I love observing the connections made on family days and the sense of pride they have when they have achieved something new or challenging.”
To others interested in volunteering with Launch Housing, Hayley says even the smallest of offerings can make a huge impact: “If they [the volunteer] have the passion and heart then they have nothing to lose. It’s a great way to get experience in the industry and you are extremely valued.”
Hayley says volunteering for a homelessness organisation has been an eye-opening but important experience.
“You realise that homelessness does not discriminate. Anyone could find themselves in a situation like this.”
Find out more about volunteering with Launch Housing.