Volunteering at St Vincent de Paul Society

Shan Chevalier, Youth Liaison Officer (Tertiary), St Vincent de Paul Society

What is St Vincent de Paul Society's mission?

St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic Organisation that has more than 60,000 members and volunteers, who work hard to assist people in need and combat social injustice across Australia through love, respect, justice, hope and joy. The Society advocates on several pressing social justice issues such as homelessness, poverty and asylum seekers.

What's the best part about getting ANU students to volunteer with your organisation?

The diverse and invaluable contribution of ANU students volunteers builds supportive, connected and inclusive communities and makes a meaningful difference in the lives of those we support. Through our Youth programs, volunteers are able to provide positive affirmation, encouragement and are great role models for the kids. Vinnies programs are very social and volunteers will make new friends, learn new skills such as leadership, first aid and facilitation and have lots of fun!

How can students get involved with the St Vincent de Paul Society?

Students can get involved by contacting the ANU Vinnies team via facebook.com/ANUvinnies or go to Vinnies website https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/Get_Involved/Become_a_volunteer/ACT/. Throughout the year, ANU Vinnies will also conduct fundraising events on campus and students can directly participate to support Vinnies. We are always on the lookout for wonderful students interested in volunteering to support those in need in our community.

What volunteering do you do with the St Vincent de Paul Society?

Home Visits, where you visit Vinnies recipients in their homes and provide them with food, petrol and clothing vouchers, and check on their well-being and generally provide them company, conversation and care. Another program I do is Thread Together where fashion companies provide Vinnies excess clothes, which we then sort and provide to recipients by appointment. These clothes are generally empower recipients, such as having appropriate attire for job interviews. Last year I was also on the executive of the ANU Vinnies executive as Secretary.

What were the best parts of being part of the ANU+ Program?

Taking the time to reflect on your volunteering, the difference you have made, the stories of the people you encounter and resilience and determination you have seen. Writing multiple pieces of reflective writing has not only improved my skills but also made me more thoughtful and aware of my writing in general. The reward for submitting your fourth reflection is also an incredible part - getting to have a career consultation with someone from ANU Careers.

Why would you recommend ANU+ to other students?

ANU+ will make you a more thoughtful person, as it requires you to re-think and evaluate your volunteering experience. It also encourages you to become a kinder and more well-rounded person. It makes you realise there is more to life than university academic work. Also, Asha (the Program Manager) is an incredible person to work with.

Samuel Lee, past ANU Vinnies Society executive member and ANU+ student.

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