For the last two years IOE participants from our House Intensive Program have been volunteering in their communities. Jessica, Steph, Bronwyn and Andrew volunteer every Tuesday at Gladysdale Primary School. The group has been participating in their Plants to Plate program. The whole school is involved and the activities range from cooking with what has been grown in the garden beds, using materials such as branches found on the grounds to build garden fences, collecting eggs from the chicken coup, cleaning out the chicken area, planting vegetables and flowers from last year’s collected seeds and caring for the garden. The teachers and principal have welcomed the group and value each member’s contribution. The mutual benefits are enormous; they have built a strong rapport with the students and teachers, they learn and pass on new skills and are being involved in their community.
Paisley, Melissa and Jessica volunteer each Monday at the King Kids Early Learning Centre and Kindergarten in Mooroolbark. They participate in the planned activities and support the children as needed. Jessica has organised art activities, supplied the resources and then facilitated the activities. Melissa has been teaching the children some Auslan signs, in particular the rainbow song to perform at the end of the year. Paisley engages really well with the children and loves to engage in the art projects in particular. We have our lunch break in the staff room which gives us the opportunity to get to know all the staff. Our time and participation at King Kids is valued and appreciated. The benefits for our participants is that they are doing valued volunteering but also get to be in a workplace environment that reinforces work ethics and skill development.
– By Theresa, IOE Support Worker