Giving back to our community
by Brighton Council
In this article, Stevie Coe writes about the experience of volunteering, specifically at The Smith Family.
It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that 2020 was a difficult year. In finding myself isolated, I felt a strong yearning to reconnect to my community and the people around me. I wanted to experience and take part in the change I could see happening in this community; the place I grew up in.
I started by volunteering at the Ten Lives Cat Adoption Centre, then my long-term goal of working in education led me to The Smith Family. Becoming a volunteer tutor at the Bridgewater Learning Club, I had a preconceived idea of what tutoring would look like – endless worksheets, scorecards and quiet rooms.
However, from the moment I entered the Learning Club, these expectations were flipped upside down. The centre is filled with warmth, light and hopefulness. The students, many who are facing disadvantage or learning challenges, are full of joy and an eagerness to learn. Each club provides students with a fun, supportive and safe environment where they can ask questions and explore their interests and passions. I feel so privileged to watch the growth among the students. Through their hard work, dedication, connection, kindness and friendship, these bright young people have essentially created a small community of their own. Recently, after almost two years as an educator and tutor, I advanced into a learning facilitator role, helping other volunteers get as much from it as I continue to, and to give as much back to the fantastic students who eagerly race through the doors every week. This Learning Club and The Smith Family creates such positive change for these students and the community. I am forever grateful, changed and lucky to be a part of it.
To learn more about The Smith Family, express interest in volunteering or to make a donation, you can visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au.