My name is Penny. I have just recently become a mum of a beautiful little girl. I have worked in the disability area, mental health, aged care and also my last 3 years have been working away on the mines.
I started being a volunteer in 1995 with a group called Kids camps. I was a street kid living in a youth hostel at the time and had no real direction till one of the youth workers asked if I wanted to help on one of these camps. I really didn’t know what to expect and I was scared as anything. I found the first day hard and really didn’t have a clue what I was doing all I knew was by the end of it I loved working with the kids. No one judged me, they didn’t care if I had old cloth’s or I couldn’t read well, they asked no questions they accepted me for me the person standing in front of them not who or what my family were, where I live or how much money I had, I could just be me. I found a purpose and a light at the end of a dark tunnel I had found my place in the world, these kids gave me hope and made me look at my own life and how I could change myself. It was very challenging but a challenge I was prepared to accept.
Volunteering I feel saved me from a road that could of turned in the wrong direction, I found a way out that so many of my peers back then did not find. A lot of those people are either now in prison or dead. Not only did it give me a way out, it helped me to understand that no matter how bad you feel your situation is there will always be someone else that has it so much worse than you do. Volunteering with children who have disabilities not only helped them but it also helped me, these kids taught me and continue to teach me more about myself then I could ever teach them in 10 life times, and that sometimes just looking and listening and not saying anything will teach us more than words ever could. For that I thank them greatly, I would not be where I am today if it was not for these kids and their parents.
I guess in a way I volunteer not only to help others but I do it for myself it teaches me to be realistic, gets me back to the simple things and it also teaches me that the best things in life come free with a little bit of work, respect and love. There are not many things in life these days that can give you that not even with money, volunteering is free and makes you feel great about yourself while giving a hand to someone who may never of had the chance to do what it is they are if you hadn’t of been there. A big thanks to Kids Camp for taking a chance with me so many years ago and I hope to be volunteering with you guys for many years to come.