Sayuri – The Dinner Table Project Volunteer
Why did you become a Healthy Cities Illawarra (HCI) volunteer?
I really wanted to volunteer with HCl because I wanted to develop new skills and gain valuable work experience. Also, I love working with a team and enjoy expanding my community relationships.
How did you first get involved with Healthy Cities Illawarra?
Manami Henderson introduced me to the HCl volunteer program and told me it was a good way to gain new experience here in Australia!
What has your experience as a volunteer been like?
I’ve been volunteering for around 1 year, and I just love it so much! Meeting new people and making new friends (colleagues) who have a similar interest in volunteering gives me a good energy and motivates me to do more! Also, I am a university student, and it is challenging to only study academically in my field (Nutrition and dietetics). Volunteering with HCl was a great way to gain professional experience and improve my confidence outside of uni.
What is the best thing about being a HCI volunteer in your perspective?
My first volunteer role was on the Active Connections program, where I got the opportunity to support participants with swimming their skills. I hadn’t been swimming since I was 18 years old, and I never thought I could end up teaching swimming to someone in Australia! I strongly remember on the first day, some participants had a “fear of the water”. Immediately I knew how to support them because I could understand and emphasise with their feelings. I had been in the same situation when I was a little. It was that experience that helped me to realise our life experiences allow us to help others. Furthermore, our experiences can be valuable to others, and we learn new things about ourselves as well.
What would you say to anyone outside considering volunteering?
Based on my experiences, I would say “don’t wait, you will never know unless you try it!” I have gained so much from stepping into HCl as a volunteer! Personally, I love active learning, it develops my self-awareness, self-confidence, and it improves my quality of life.
If you’d like to volunteer with an organisation that has real impact in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven, register your interest now!