I was asked last night after the airing of the program – ‘Did you enjoy the experience?’ ‘Enjoy’ no, did I find it challenging, confronting, and rewarding – absolutely.
I am not an actor, or in the entertainment industry. I have had little to do with television. I did the program on the premise that it was a documentary on volunteering. I did not know where I was going, who I would meet, nor how I would get on. But yes, it was an experience of a life time. I was touched moved and inspired by so many people I met. Humbled by what volunteers contribute throughout Australia. My life is now different, I see things in a different light.
I met many people, not all of which were part of the final story. Every person I met added to the experience and the insight I now have, and will continue to share what I have learned with others.
The personal challenge of course was, ‘how much and to whom.? There were so very many people each with an equally worthy story.
I chose a mini van for the CCS, it assists all the families both present and future – it was fun to work with them to get the right van at the right price… I’m in touch with Bill, and have been back to visit, have assisted with a big fund raiser in Toowoomba and we have become good friends. Andrew and I email back and forth – he gives me regular updates on Maddy. Maddy’s sister is due in just a few weeks and she is very excited. My daughter and I will visit in a few weeks time.
I chose a trailer for the DSA, the old one has since been passed to another club (yeah twice the benefit). Craig tells me it saves at least 3 person hours every meet so they can spend more time surfing and less putting chairs together. Craig and I have good long chats – with his ideas on the DSA and the possibilities for the organization. And I (and RedBalloon) look forward to our ongoing support being volunteers but also in its fund raising.
Steve and I email back and forth, we have vivid debates about life and the universe, I’m excited by his surf wear project and will continue to assist as he brings his product to market.
I chose to invest in an art program at 139 Club, it is about community and bringing people together. About expression and creativity. A mural has been painted, many artworks produced – and we have the art auction (in case you would like to come an purchase some art) on 13 November at the club, with the new catering service which is now off the ground – all of which will provide more income for the club. Rod and I email and talk on the phone, whilst not a mentor I am definitely a sounding board to assist with these new entrepreneurial endeavors.
And Judy, she delights at her new fridge, washer, dryer, wardrobe, computer and the other things she wanted. She tells me she will write a book when she is feeling just a bit better – I’ve sat with her in the Oncology Ward where we had time for her to recount her story – it will make a great book one day.
The money was given with love. But money can be divisive – why did you choose them and not the others, or why that amount?Â There is no ‘right’ in this – I just did my best, what I could see would make a difference, but more than any of that they know that I give my love, friendship and ongoing support.
My life in Sydney has changed too. Peter (my husband) got to know the folks at the Wayside Chapel supporting the homeless. I have created the ‘We care’ program at RedBalloon and now donate my speaking fees – to enable my colleagues to experience volunteering, already working with the Wayside Chapel hosting lunches for the homeless, working with Best Buddies – and we are looking forward to the big Sydney meet of the DSA.
Thank you for all the lovely emails, tweets and messages. But it is not ‘me’ it is ‘we’. Each of us can make a difference to others.