National Volunteer Week: “This is something that anyone can do!”

We celebrate the generous volunteers who work with Youth Off The Streets to make a difference in young people and their communities.
YOTS Volunteers with buckets at MCA Syd Festival Event Jan 2009

Our incredible volunteers are integral to the work we do with young people and their communities – and the life-changing difference we make.

From our schools and refuges to our mentorship programs, we have more than 350 volunteers who play a crucial role in our success. We are grateful to each and every one of them!

Here are some of their stories.

Nicola Amys – Mentor, Scholarship Program

Nicola is a corporate lawyer who enjoys facilitating the development of young people.

She became a mentor for Youth Off The Streets’ scholarship program two years ago, after hearing positive things about the organisation from her partner, Michal, who is also a mentor.

“I particularly like that it matches the mentees with suitable mentors based on their interests and personality,” she says.

“I wear many hats as a mentor – older sister, friend, university tutor and financial planner.

“I assist my mentees with their university assignments, study skills, career advice, job applications and interview practise, finance and insurance tips, relationship advice, health questions, Netflix suggestions – everything and anything!”

Nicola Amys volunteers with Youth Off the Streets

Nicola particularly enjoys being able to share her knowledge and experiences with her mentees and watching them grow as a result of that support.

“It is so rewarding to be able to contribute to a person’s life by just being there and sharing things that might seem second nature to me but can mean so much to them,” she explains.

“Mentoring has taught me not to take things for granted, even simple things like knowing to combine superannuation accounts!

“My mentees teach me new perspectives and help me to be more open-minded and resilient.”

“Being a mentor allows you to give someone ‘something’ for ‘nothing’! As individuals with our own life experiences, we each have much to offer as a mentor to others.

“Sometimes, it’s not even the advice that matters, but rather the mentee knowing that someone is there for them when needed. This is something that anyone can do!”

Vincent Blake is a volunteer with Youth Off the Streets

Vincent Blake – Food Van and Street Walk

New to Youth Off The Streets but no stranger to volunteering, Vincent joined the Street Walk program a little over four weeks ago. He felt like he had much to offer young people.

“I wanted to volunteer at Youth Off The Streets with the hope that I could make even a small difference,” he says.

“I volunteer with another organisation helping transport the elderly during the day where I found out about Father Chris Riley and the great work he’s done.

“It’s so different each time, and I love to see a smile on someone’s face. Youth Off The Streets does great work!”

Susie Burnard – Joint Coordinator, Bowral Op Shop

Susie started volunteering with Youth Off The Streets’ op shop in Bowral in early 2017.

She spent years volunteering in different organisations overseas and wanted to contribute to her local community in the NSW Southern Highlands upon returning to Australia.

A friend at an annual charity fundraising event introduced her to Youth Off The Streets.

“It appealed to me because Father Chris is such an inspiring and charismatic figure, and the cause of youth homelessness is a universal one,” she explains.

“People believe the Southern Highlands is a wealthy, privileged area, but many don’t realise that there are homeless people and they struggle to buy the necessities of life.

“Our op shop not only raises much-needed funds for Youth Off The Streets programs but also provides quality clothing and household goods at reasonable prices.

Susie Bernard is a volunteer with Youth Off the Streets

“There is a wonderful group of volunteers, and the shop has an excellent reputation.”

For the past couple of years, Susie and another colleague have been the Joint Coordinators of the op shop, managing more than 30 volunteers.

“I find the business side of the work stimulating, but I equally love the close community and friendships of our volunteer group.”

“We are always busy,” she says.

“In addition to reorganising the shop, enhancing its excellent local reputation, managing its closure during COVID last year and preparing to reopen with required strategies in place, I enjoy the challenge of maintaining and increasing our revenue stream where possible.

“It is hugely rewarding, and it’s a privilege to be involved.”

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