21 May 2019
By Debbi Berkovic, Volunteer
‘My name’s Debbi, and I’m a volunteer at the Jewish Care Employment Centre.’
These are my first words when I ring clients to see how their job search is progressing. However, I didn’t originally volunteer for this role, but that’s what is so wonderful about Jewish Care – opportunity!
Knowing my strengths, my friend suggested that I might like to volunteer and read the Australian Jewish News for the vision impaired, which is a job she has done for a while. So off I went to meet with a lovely lady called Hayley, who is the Volunteer Program Manager at Jewish Care. She immediately put me at ease, but unbeknown to me, she was taking in more than I imagined as we spoke. During the course of her ‘sizing me up’ she had felt that I would be a good fit for the Employment Centre due to my skill base, which includes being able to interact well with people – easy – and being a writer and editor, none of which are rocket science. Remember, we all have talent even if we don’t realise it.
Yet my volunteer roles are not the only highlight of my time at St Kilda Road. I have met many people in the course of volunteering over the years, but rarely have I come across such a nice and inclusive group of people as those at Jewish Care. As volunteers, we are highly valued, and many organisations would not run as efficiently without us complementing the work of staff. But at Jewish Care, there is absolutely no ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality, so I feel that when I do go in to volunteer that I am actually at work.
People thank me all the time for volunteering, but the fact of the matter is that I know I derive so much more personal satisfaction and self-esteem boost than any benefit my ‘helping out’ could do for them.
So, if you are thinking of volunteering but haven’t got the confidence or don’t feel that you have anything to offer, take my advice and just do it! You will be welcomed, nurtured, included and appreciated – and who could possibly refuse a ‘pamper’ such as that?
I am a volunteer at Jewish Care. This is my job and I love going to work!