Meet Tanya Slavin, our new Volunteer Coordinator

(Tanya pictured on the left with Sue Reid on right from Villages)

Tanya could you please tell us a little about yourself and how long have you been in Port Macquarie.

Sure! I am originally from Inverell but I completed my high school years here in Port Macquarie at MacKillop Senior College.

I left the area to attend the University of Western Sydney and returned with my family about three years ago after living and working in Brisbane, Dubbo and Sydney.

We’re living in Lake Cathie and we’re really enjoying everything the beautiful Hastings has to offer.

Can you describe current volunteers’ roles you hold, or have held locally.

Like most parents, my volunteering at the moment revolves around helping out with activities the kids are involved with.

For example, I volunteer with the Wauchope Bonny Hills SLSC as an assistant age manager with their Nipper program and help out at the school whenever I can.

You have recently been appointed by St Agnes’ Parish to oversee the vast volunteer network they have. How many people and groups will you be overseeing?

St Agnes’ Parish is really lucky to have such committed volunteers. We currently have 445+ volunteers and the numbers are growing! They come from all walks of life, Catholic and Non-Catholic, different ages and backgrounds.

My role involves supporting coordinators, who currently oversee volunteers in Parish service areas such as our Youth Hub, Lifestyle and Pastoral Care in our Residential Aged Care facilities, the Church and Community Services and Disabilities.

At last count there were more than 50 different types of volunteering opportunities that people can get involved in.

What sort of work do the Parish volunteers carry out?

The range of roles undertaken by our volunteers has just blown me away!

Some serve in ministries directly related to our Church and Chapel services. Some serve by helping maintain the grounds and gardens around the Church and other facilities.

Some serve by supporting our age care residents with their lifestyle activities and spiritual needs ministries. Others help out volunteering with our intergenerational programs or teaching kids to play a musical instruments or putting together over 200 Christmas hampers for families in need every year.

There are so many ways people can be involved – It’s important that to us that each person finds the volunteering role that’s right for them.

People who volunteer often get more out of their volunteering experience then they expect, learning new skills and meeting new people along the way.

Volunteering is a very rewarding experience, what do you enjoy most about contributing in this way to our community?

Personally, I love seeing the smile on our nippers faces when you’ve help them learn a new skill or overcome a fear.

Studies actually suggest that those who volunteer are 42% happier than those who don’t so I guess I am not alone in the lift I get through volunteering.

Describe some of the attributes of a volunteer.

One of the Parish values is ‘Service before self’ and I think that sums up a volunteer. They are willing to have a go at something new and to share their skills, experiences and time with others. Being an open minded team player also helps a volunteer get the most out of their experience.

How can locals join the Parish volunteers?

Anyone who is interested can call in at our Administration Centre in Hay Street, where I’m more than happy to discuss volunteering options with them or they can register their interest through our website (stagnesparish.org.au).

I’m actually hosting a few Volunteer information and feedback sessions from 13-15 November, which people are more than welcome to come along to. To register just give the Parish a call on 65887444.