👤 Elisabeth, Social Connectedness through English Conversation Volunteer
☕ Coffee/tea order: Strong coffee, sometimes a long black, sometimes a cappuccino but always from the NRCH cafe!
“I’ve been volunteering at North Richmond Community Health for three years now.
When I started volunteering here, I was looking after my mother who had had a hip replacement and then another bad fall at home. Coming here was a chance to be away from that for a little while.
Josephine (who also volunteers at the Social Connectedness through English Group) and I have always been pretty supportive of each other, and it has also been great to form that kind of relationship with other volunteers in the group. Snowy and Keith are some other volunteers who always help keep the atmosphere lively too.
I’m a teacher and I have taught Chinese and German as well as English. I’ve mainly taught in urban secondary schools in Melbourne but have also taught English/German overseas in China. I’ve been involved in an international programme for Australian students as one of the local staff members in Nanjing and taught Chinese in Singapore. Prior to becoming a teacher, I’ve worked as a medical receptionist, waitress, food and domestic services assistant in a hospital and as a cleaner.
What I enjoy most about volunteering for the Social Connectedness through English Conversation group is the social interaction. Our class is meant to be a social class and having the opportunity to meet students and other volunteers is really interesting. I speak Chinese and a lot of the students in the group can speak Chinese too so I am able to use it a lot. It’s good for me to keep my Chinese going and speak it regularly.
I’ve also had the chance to be involved with a variety of other volunteer activities at North Richmond Community Health, including helping provide information on using smartphones to monitor and support health. I’ve also assisted with multilingual surveys on the functions and facilities available to North Richmond Community Health clients. More recently, I’ve tutored young students in the Homework Program, which is also very rewarding.
I love feeling that I am a part of the community around me. It gives me a buzz to walk along the street and see my students or to recognise and be recognised by people I’ve met through North Richmond Community Health. I greatly respect all the staff and volunteers for their knowledge, expertise and humanity and am extremely proud that I can play a small part in the work of the centre.”