Introduce yourself! Who are you and what inspired you to volunteer with WAGEC?
Hi, I’m Ally. I’m an artist slash professional slash amateur gardener. Like so many people I’ve had a bit of an unpredictable year with far less work and far more time to reflect (a bit of a blessing and curse…). Being stuck at home I realised I was craving meaningful connection to a community and found it quite frustrating not having many opportunities to utilise my skills in a way that felt helpful or productive. Coincidently, I had just finished reading See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill and was thinking a lot about domestic violence and homelessness in the context of the pandemic. By chance I came across WAGEC and here I am.
It has been a privilege being able to volunteer and learn in a genuinely inclusive, strengths-based, trauma-informed space.
Do you have any highlights of volunteering with WAGEC? If so, what are they?
Hanging out with the kids at Jeannie’s or Hollie’s. There’s nothing quite like the left-of-field insights a kid will come up with while drawing a picture or playing in the sand pit.
Also, being part of a progressive, proudly feminist organisation and learning from the women and children who make it what it is!
What is the typical day in the life of a volunteer?
I’ve been lucky enough to try my hand at a few different volunteering roles at WAGEC, so in that sense there’s no typical day. Recently, I’ve been helping out with the Art Therapy program. This usually involves boiling the kettle and setting up the materials and space for the session with the wonderful Art Therapist. I’m an extra set of hands to assist the women and Art Therapist throughout the session, and I learn so much.
I also tutor as a part of WAGEC’s SEED program and do other bits and bobs.
One of the great parts of being a WAGEC volunteer is how much your unique experience, skills and interests are valued.
What does community mean to you?
To me community means inclusion, connectedness and support.
What is something you are grateful for or something not many people know about you (e.g. fun fact)?
I’m grateful for my garden, it really keeps me grounded. On the flip side though, I’m a very eccentric housemate. I’ve been caught at strange hours swearing at the caterpillars that eat my veg and announcing how many happy juicy worms are living in the dirt!
Why is volunteering important to you?
I’ve gained so much from volunteering. It’s been really practical way to contribute just a little bit to a sector that is, unfortunately, in such high demand yet on the whole under-funded and under-resourced. Volunteering is empowering.