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Imagine being paid to help others volunteer! Leonie Kennedy shares her journey to a job at Volunteering Gold Coast

People find amazing jobs on EthicalJobs.com.au every day. This is part of a series of articles that go behind the scenes to meet some of the people and organisations finding each other through EthicalJobs.com.au. 

Today’s story is from Leonie Kennedy, who found her job as Volunteering Services Coordinator at Volunteering Gold Coast, on EthicalJobs.com.au. 

Volunteering Gold Coast recognises the significant value that volunteering brings to the community and aims to spread this impact across the Gold Coast, with new initiatives just launched to support high risk and vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting out with work

My first job was as an Office Junior at a five-star hotel in Auckland, NZ. I was very young and learnt early that in the world of five star living the expectation is nothing less than always delivering the best and always striving to improve on this. The culture of excellence in customer service helped to set the standards of working with the community.

In that first job it was not unusual to have clients of high profile make specific requests. I recall having to scope the whole of Auckland looking for a limited bottle of perfume for a client’s anniversary present for his wife. Working in hospitality in a five star hotel helped instil crucial skills such as thinking outside the box, always being strategic and having several back-up plans when organising and planning.

My parents are extremely hard-working people who instilled in me the value and importance of having a strong work ethic. I have always set myself a task to learn a fun fact or a new word every day. Knowledge is power. 

I went to MTI after completing high school and studied Business and Public Relations. My goal was to empower different people through positive work experiences; assisting people of all walks of life and being a voice of encouragement. 

I have been very fortunate to live in different parts of the world and have been able to use this as a platform to volunteer and help in programs that provided basic needs such as food, shelter and education to people of diverse backgrounds.

Working at Volunteering Gold Coast

Volunteering Gold Coast provides organisations with resources to find community volunteers. The Gold Coast is very unique and we are privileged to live in such an amazing part of Australia. There are always a large range of organisations that require volunteers.

One of the programs we run is called Community Visiting Scheme, where we recruit volunteers to take an hour a week for a duration of 20 weeks to sit with clients who need company. It gives the person someone to chat to, have a coffee with, or simply sit and watch a movie together. Another program, called Accessible Beaches, is where rubber mats are put on beaches in Surfers Paradise, which provides clients in wheelchairs access to the surf. Simple programs like that have an enormous social impact.

A typical day in my role involves organising volunteers for the vacancies available in our database. The geographic area I manage has a large reach inclusive of outreach offices in Southport, Robina, West Morton, Jimboomba, and Ipswich.

We ensure that volunteers are the right match for roles in community. When screening volunteers we ensure the fit is good for both the member and the volunteer. We are very aware of diversity and the challenges and opportunities that may come with this. I am extremely lucky to work with a team of highly skilled, hard-working, passionate and socially conscious women.

Why work for a better world?

Volunteering around the world has always been a huge part of my life. As a Volunteering Services Team Coordinator for Volunteering Gold Coast I loved that I would be playing an important role in promoting volunteer work. It gives me a platform to promote the selflessness, kind, caring and humbling qualities of volunteers, both internally and externally. 

I read a quote from a fellow ethical jobseeker: “There are jobs for the bank account and jobs for the soul.” This sums it up for me. I had always been part of the corporate world, until recently I made the change to working for community organisations. I have been fortunate to have worked for Not-for-Profit organisations for the last 5 years. Nothing compares to the feeling of getting up each morning knowing you are going make a positive change to someone’s life today. 

My advice to other ethical jobseekers is to seek out something you are passionate about and want to get up to do every morning. Find something that you can’t wait to get to and also can’t believe you get paid for! Also, you are only on this earth for a short time and volunteering is a great way to make a difference.

 

Hey reader, it’s over to you: Are you interested in volunteering and helping the community during this difficult time? 

Volunteering Gold Coast recently launched its new COVID-19 Community Support Initiatives to directly meet the needs of people on the Gold Coast – especially those who are most vulnerable and most at risk of being isolated due to diminished services and supports. 

These initiatives include transport services for high-risk patients, a volunteer calling program for welfare check ins, and an array of delivery services for people who are unable to leave their home. 

They currently need volunteers for these initiatives to help support high risk and vulnerable people. If you are interested in helping out, please register here.

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