Training workshops to strengthen Resilience and Leadership skills in volunteering – 1 October 2020

Training workshops to strengthen Resilience and Leadership skills in volunteering – 1 October 2020

On the occasion of our AGM, we are offering two free training workshops that will provide tools to help strengthen Resilience and Leadership skills in volunteering.

LEADERSHIP – 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

This leadership program is designed to provide you with a clear understanding of a range of different styles of leadership suitable to volunteer leading, skills and knowledge that can be used to enhance and define your own leadership style.

You will learn about how to apply the different styles of leadership in a practical sense when leading your team. Tips and tools will be provided to enable skills and knowledge developed throughout the course to be applied to lead your volunteer team to success.

This topic is designed to provide you with training on:

  • Leadership as a concept
  • The different styles of leadership
  • How to build own leadership skills
  • Practical tools and tips for effective volunteer leadership

REGISTER

Afternoon Tea from 3:00 pm to 3:30 pm, followed by AGM.

RESILIENCE – 4:00 pm to 4:45 pm

This resilience program is designed to provide you with a clear understanding of a range of different types of resilience and the many contexts that resilience is required for. You will learn about personal resilience, community resilience and the scope of resilience in volunteering. You will learn important concepts relating to resilience and a range of practical methods for resilience building.

This topic is designed to provide you with training on:

  • What resilience is
  • The different types of resilience
  • How to build resilience
  • The importance of resilience
  • The different contexts that resilience can be applied

REGISTER

The Leadership and Resilience workshops are presented by TAFE Queensland VETP project.

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Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

Volunteering North Queensland Inc

2020 Annual General Meeting

Thursday 1 October 2020
3:30pm to 4:00pm
at
TAFE Queensland
Pimlico Campus, Cnr Hugh Street and Fulham Road,
D Block, Level 1, Room D1.03

2020 AGM will include the 
Presentation of 2019/2020 Annual Report and
Election of the 2020/2021 Management Committee

Agenda
Minutes
Nomination Form
Proxy Form

Afternoon Tea provided 

REGISTER

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Healthy Body and Active Mind, can Volunteering Help Seniors Achieve Both?

A healthy body and active mind are key goals for seniors as they head into retirement. After all, they have worked hard and now is the time to slow down and enjoy life. It’s time to do the things they have always wanted, like drive around Australia, spend more time seeing grandkids or taking up a new hobby.

The important question for seniors is; how do you maintain your physical and mental health as you age so you can have good quality of life and can do all the things you thought you would?

Well, researchers have put a lot of work into this and now they have some answers!

They have found volunteering is a great way of maintaining and improving physical and mental health.

A recent Harvard study found volunteering for 2 hours a week can reduce the risk of mortality and physical limitations. They rated their own health as better, as well as having higher optimism and purpose in life. Volunteering also reduced feelings of hopelessness and depressive symptoms.

Other studies have found a multitude of benefits including some you would not think of such as reduced risk of dementia and hip fractures.

Do you know what the best thing about volunteering is? You can get all these benefits from doing something you enjoy. From gardening to helping young people read, there is no shortage of ways to volunteer and they can all deliver the benefits above.

If you would like to start your volunteering story, search for opportunities at https://www.vnq.org.au/quick-search/#/  or call us on 47255990.

To read more about the benefits of volunteering, go to our article at https://www.vnq.org.au/physical-cognitive-health-benefits-of-volunteering/ and the Harvard article at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379720301380?dgcid=rss_sd_all

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A handy guide to getting started online to celebrate Seniors Week’s virtual events

A handy guide to getting started online to celebrate Seniors Week’s virtual events

Do you have a special senior in your life, or your organisation, who needs some help to get started online and build their digital skills?

Check out the great resource – “Helping you to access virtual Seniors Week events using your smartphone or tablet” – at https://qldseniorsweek.org.au/. This handy guide will step them through the process so they can join the many online activities.

With annual Seniors Week events being cancelled, there are some great virtual events being held to celebrate seniors and their contribution to our communities.

Search for these events at https://qldseniorsweek.org.au/ by arts, health & wellness, sport & recreation or the other categories listed, or search by city or date.

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Celebrating Queensland’s Seniors

Celebrating Queensland’s Seniors

If you’ve ever thought about volunteering but weren’t quite sure where to start, why not pop in to CIC and grab one of our flyers. What better way to celebrate our seniors, or celebrate as a senior, than to start your volunteer story?

The annual celebration of Queensland’s seniors, in this its 60th year, is going virtual. VNQ is marking Seniors Week, 15-23 August, with a pop-up display at the Community Information Centre, Flinders Street in the city.  Check out our display now until the end of August. 

Not a senior? We can connect you with some great volunteering opportunities to make a difference in the lives of our seniors.

Here’s a taste of some of the types of roles on offer:

  • Trishaw Riders
  • Pianist
  • Tech Support
  • Italian Speaking Alarm Tester
  • Café Assistant/Barista
  • Driving
  • Gardening
  • Reading
  • Entertainment…and more

With such a diverse range of roles available, there is sure to be something that will suit your interests and your availability

You can explore these opportunities at https://www.vnq.org.au/quick-search/#/

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Making a lasting life changing difference to young people’s lives

Making a lasting life changing difference to young people’s lives

When Ray Waters retired in 2016, he wanted to put his life experiences to good use and give something back to the community, particularly in areas where he felt he could make a positive and valuable contribution. And he has done that in spades!

Ray first volunteered as part of a team at Camp Quality’s annual programs and camps that help young children and their families cope with the daily ups and downs of dealing with cancer.  

Since its inception in 2017, Ray has been volunteering at The Cowboys Community Foundation’s NRL NQ Cowboys House. In his role as the Volunteer Co-ordinator, he recruits tutors, provides guidance, training, inspires the team and works with them in the support of vulnerable students.

Ray has recruited more than 200 volunteer tutors to work one-on-one with the students to help them complete their study or assessments. He tutors two afternoons a week and along with co-ordinating the tutors, devotes numerous hours to the required official paperwork for the volunteers. Outside of the tutoring program, he has travelled thousands of kilometres to ensure the students have safe travel home to their communities.

Ray said, “It is a valuable and rewarding experience knowing that you are making a lasting life changing difference to young people’s lives both now and in the future. It will not only impact on their lives but also the lives of those that these young students may influence in their future lives and careers as well as their home communities.”

NRL Cowboys House students are some of the most geographically disadvantaged young people in the country. They are all Indigenous high school aged young people living away from home to access educational opportunity. They face many barriers such as language, homesickness and are all at least 3 – 5 years behind their academic peers when they arrive. Ray and the team help pave the way for these young people to overcome the many barriers they face. The positive community impact of Ray and the team of volunteers is immeasurable.

A high point for Ray has been to see the academic, sporting and social community involvement awards achieved by the students last year at the end of year Awards Presentation Night.

“It was amazing to be a part of this success in conjunction with the Management and staff and the Volunteers who give so much time to achieve this success,” Ray said. “The majority of the Volunteer Tutors were present to see the fantastic difference their dedication and commitment has made.

Certainly the major highlight was to see a number of students from the original group of 25 students in 2017 graduate with trades with local companies. To see the smiles on the faces of their families who all attended left a lasting impression that I will never forget.

I am proud to be part of a fantastic charity organisation that does so much that will leave a lasting footprint in the lives of many young people and their families.”

To anyone considering volunteering, Ray says, “The benefits to be gained from volunteering are extensive. Knowing you have done something to make a difference in somebody’s life no matter how big or small is reward in itself. To be in a position to give your time willingly without being paid to help somebody in need in an unconditional situation is a reward in itself that cannot be overestimated. Generally, a kind word or a smile says it all. The friendships made with people you may have never met before sometimes can be long lasting.”

Ray was nominated and shortlisted for the Volunteer Impact Award at the 2020 NQ Volunteer of the Year Virtual Awards.

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Introducing our new Manager, Marie-Claude Brown

Introducing our new Manager, Marie-Claude Brown

We are excited to announce Marie-Claude Brown has come on board the VNQ team as our new Manager. 

Marie-Claude is well-known in Townsville for her advocacy as the CEO of Townsville Chamber, a position she held from 2009 to 2020.

In her work, Marie-Claude combines two visions: profitable businesses and strong communities.

With the community sector transitioning from a community services model dependent on public funding to a value-based business, Marie-Claude is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities this will present to continue to promote a North Queensland community rich in volunteers and volunteering.

After moving to Townsville with her Australian husband in 1997, Marie-Claude held roles in project management, stakeholder relations and community development for the corporate mining sector for 10 years.

During that time, she was seconded to the community of Townsville for a period of four years to deliver a World Health Organisation (WHO) program on injury prevention, in collaboration with the local community and the health sector. She has also worked for the State Government. Department of Local Government.

As the Townsville Chamber CEO from 2009 to 2020, she was the advocate for 200 businesses impacted by the redevelopment of Townsville’s CBD, a 2-year $56 Million infrastructure project. She helped re-build the Chamber from the inside out, overseeing all aspects of the business including financial viability, brand development, stakeholder relations, advocacy, media, and operations.

Marie-Claude has lived and worked in Canada, the United States, France, Belgium and Australia. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude (‘With Great Distinction’), from San Jose State University in California, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Major in Community Development, Dean’s List, from James Cook University in Townsville.

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‘Rock’ of the office driven to help others

‘Rock’ of the office driven to help others

Described as the ‘Rock’ of the Oasis office, Erin Donnelly, an ex-chief clerk in the Army, had plenty to keep her busy and happy but felt there was room for volunteering to be a part of her retirement.

Erin joined The Oasis Townsville, a referral and support hub, in 2018, an appointment she describes as ‘natural and fitting’ considering her strong connection to the ADF. Enthusiastic and professional, she soon became pivotal in bringing the organisation closer to their objectives in her role as Volunteer Manager.

In order to better understand the nuances of volunteer management, Erin took on professional development and a secondment with another volunteering organisation early on. This created a solid foundation for The Oasis Townsville to manage the incoming flux of volunteers.

After spending long hours creating policy and procedure, organising the office, developing the Service Directory, being a warm and supportive leader, Erin has had the biggest role of any of the Oasis Townsville volunteers outside the board of directors. Besides her volunteer management role, Erin takes on whatever tasks need completing. The Oasis Townsville Chairman shares “it is often hard to describe in traditional terms what her job is given she does so much to keep the entire operation running and everyone knows it!”

Erin said, “Whilst I gained many skills during my working life, I believe there is always something new to learn or a skill to improve on. I particularly like volunteering with people who have the same drive to do what they can to help others. Giving back to the community by volunteering my time is very rewarding. Every little bit of time you give goes towards making a difference for all of us.”

To anyone considering volunteering, Erin said, “Give it a go. It is very rewarding and worthwhile and a bit different to working in paid employment. Also, give some thought to why you want to volunteer and with which organisation. It is important to ensure your volunteer experience is a good one. You can always change where and with whom you volunteer if it’s not a fit for you. Spread the love as I tend to say!”

Erin was nominated and shortlisted for the Heart of Volunteering Award at the 2020 NQ Volunteer of the Year Virtual Awards.

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Peddling his way into the hearts of those in need

Peddling his way into the hearts of those in need

He wanted to ride fast and feel the wind on his face. He feared going fast and preferred to ride steadily. She needed every move explained – turning right, turning left, stopping, crossing a road, going up a hill, down a hill and so on in order to feel safe.

These are just some of the needs John Morton takes into account when he becomes the ‘Captain’ on a tandem bicycle and takes a ‘Stoker’ up behind him when they go on a long, leisurely ride around Ross River or out to the port or Pallarenda. The Stokers who ride with John can be hearing or vision impaired, have conditions such as Downs Syndrome or suffer brain trauma from motor vehicle accidents. Whatever their situation, they are unable to ride a pushbike and get out into the natural environment on their own.

John says, “No two clients are alike and I first need to understand and then accommodate their expectations and anxieties in order to make their ride enjoyable.” One lady who was vision impaired wouldn’t ride with anyone else but John. He calmed her anxieties about not being able to see where she was going by describing and explaining every move so she could anticipate the movements and sensations. The impact these weekly rides have on the mental health and well-being of the clients is immeasurable.

John has always volunteered in some capacity for his community. As a younger man, he was the president of the Townsville Veteran’s Tennis Club for 35 years. He served on several Parents and Friends Committees whilst his children were at school; was involved in the administration of the local Scout’s group; was the cricket club president and an athletics and cricket club coach.

John juggled these duties whilst working for 42 years in a high-pressured job spending much of his time in front of a computer. When he retired from this career at 60 years of age, John decided to do something very different with far less pressure and that led to volunteering in a range of positions for a range of organisations namely, the Ozcare Villa Vincent Aged Care Facility; the Townsville Tandem Pushbike Club and Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA).

John says, “What I love about my volunteering work with these organisations is the complete reversal of my former role, the fact that I am outdoors and physically active and the challenge I set myself to learn a very different range of skill sets and ways of operating with people.”

At Ozcare Villa Vincent, John assists in maintaining the extensive grounds and gardens. There are endless rows of hedges to be trimmed, multiple lawns to be mowed, boundless weeds to be pulled out of garden beds, pruning, raking, fertilising, planting and watering to be done.

John interacts with a majority of the residents as he makes his way around the grounds and gardens of the facility. A wave, a greeting, a chat, all enhance the quality of life for the residents of Villa Vincent. The elderly men, in particular, enjoy having another man about the complex to talk to as they live in a largely female oriented establishment. As John says, ‘I’m not under pressure to perform now. I can stop for 10 minutes and pass the time of day with a resident who wants to talk to me.” As a number of residents are socially isolated, a chin wag with John adds value and meaning to their day. Knowing that he is going to be there twice a week gives them something to look forward to.

John says, “It’s like a smorgasbord. I can do whatever I like and know that anything I do adds value to the establishment and the lives of the residents.”

Within Conservation Volunteers Australia, John travels an area bounded by Magnetic Island, Cape Upstart near Ingham and Home Hill to work with a crew who clean up beaches, remove weeds and rubbish from endangered ecosystems and aid in conserving areas of native bushland. It is hard physical work, especially through our summers but John says, “I like to get in and get the work done.”

“I will be volunteering long down the track. I’m here for the fun of it. It’s great for my mental and physical health and gives me a sense of pride. I’m always thinking about what I have to do next. And it keeps me connected to my community.”

John was nominated and shortlisted for the Heart of Volunteering Award at the 2020 NQ Volunteer of the Year Virtual Awards.

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Handled with care…the natural world and cultural history in safe hands

Handled with care…the natural world and cultural history in safe hands

For more than 40 years, Liz Downes has been volunteering her time, expertise and skill for a number of community organisations. She currently volunteers for Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and the JCU’s Mabo Library (Special Collections).

Liz said, “I have always been passionate about nature conservation and protecting our environment and wildlife so it seemed natural to want to put that into practice. My volunteering with JCU’s Mabo Library was prompted by my interest in local history and cultural heritage and a wish to remain connected with the institution where I had worked for many years.”

Involved with the conservation movement since the 1980s, Liz cites her involvement with the historic Torres Strait pigeon monitoring project off the coast of Cardwell as a highlight. She first started taking part in the project in 1994.

“It has been a joy and a privilege to be a part of such a nationally important endeavour that keeps watch over one of our most beautiful birds, once pushed almost to extinction by illegal shoots, dramatic loss of habitat along the coast and the devastation of cyclones. The dedication of the volunteers who have been keeping this project going for over 50 years is both a great inspiration and a true labour of love,” Liz said.

 “Nature conservation can be a heart-breaking activity as we see more and more species pushed to the brink and more and more habitats and ecosystems degraded or lost. Maintaining hope and purpose in such circumstances can be very difficult and burn-out is always waiting in the wings.”

Liz recently came across this quotation from a 19th century American author: ‘I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.’

The quote resonated with Liz because she felt it perfectly reflected her friend’s philosophy and that its message may help other volunteers guard against feelings of helplessness or burn-out. Liz explained, “In the early 1980s, I was fortunate to meet Arthur and Margaret Thorsborne, a remarkable North Queensland couple who dedicated their lives to living lightly on the earth and to the study and protection of the natural world. Margaret remained a dear friend and a profound inspiration until her death in 2018. Despite increasing age, frailty and other hardships she never gave up and remembering her passion and perseverance can be a powerful motivator.”

Liz will be well known to many through a regular radio series as well as her entertaining blog posts that number more than 60. It is Liz’ research and storytelling ability that has enabled the Special Collections at JCU Library to gain such a following. Her gift in locating and revealing stories of historical significance has been instrumental in connecting our history to around 14,000 radio listeners to the ‘White Gloves’ series on ABC North Queensland.

 “The Special Collections of JCU’s Mabo Library is a wonderful repository of north Queensland’s cultural heritage and history that is made available to the wider community as well as to academic researchers, Liz said.”

The recipient of the Heart of Volunteering Award at this year’s Virtual NQ Volunteer of the Year Awards, Liz humbly declared she’s sure all volunteers will agree that all achievements are made possible through the work of a team, not just one individual.

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