When I moved to the coast just over 2 and a half years ago I knew a total of zero people. I’d been here twice, once in primary school for an excursion to Sea World and Australia Zoo and then once to check out where I potentially might spend 4 years or more of my life. It probably surprises none of my friends today, that I was pretty involved with various things in High School.
So I come to the Sunshine Coast, I drink and party my way through Year 1 – making tonnes of friends and then hit second year. I feel like my perception of the inequalities in the world of women and birth, inspired me to help make change.
I applied for a position on a uni group – got it. Didn’t feel that was enough, so I did some googling and found the Street Angels (now ‘Safe Nite Out’). I’d never heard of them before, I’d been fed pancakes and red frogs from a relatively similar group – Red Frogs before however I’m not a part of a religious group so couldn’t join their team. I emailed Street Angels, and a little while later I was doing my first patrol with 2 other Street Angels in Mooloolaba and Ocean Street in Maroochydore.I even managed to get my fellow Student Ambassador Koen interested in Street Angels and he joined the team as well (we were super excited to volunteer together as you can see from our selfie above)! In the past few days, Street Angels has changed on the Coast – instead the Queensland Government has provided funding for a new initiative called Safe Nite Out, which will run out of Ocean Street and have ‘patrols’ in Mooloolaba and Caloundra as well. To sum up the aims of the program – it’s to ensure YOU GUYS have a ‘Safe Nite Out’, all of the crew will have First Aid and CPR abilities, sick bags, bandaids, water, tea and coffee and bickies amongst other handy stuff. Maybe you saw us on a night out in the brightest orange shirts you’d ever seen – well I’m told the new shirts are blueish – So look out for us on Friday and Saturday nights 10pm-3:30am — We’re only there to HELP you!
After Street Angels, I found Share the Dignity – in April and August collection points are set up in order to get as many donated sanitary items as humanly possible – all items go to women around Australia who can’t afford or don’t have access to them – such as homeless women and women in shelters. It’s an amazing initiative. I look after collection points at the University of the Sunshine Coast – Student Guild and Terry White chemist in Sippy Downs. (Check out where YOUR collection point is here: www.sharethedignity.com.au). It’s a pretty amazing gig, I just set up the collection box, collect the items, count them and then drop them off. But without the approx. 500 volunteers Australia wide, such a thing could not be possible.
Whilst in the kitchen one day a couple of months ago – I saw an ad on tv for the Pyjama Angels, 5 minutes later I’d logged on to the website and applied. Pyjama Angels is another fabulous initiative – I feel it’s really going to be a positive and rewarding experience for me. As a Pyjama Angel, you get paired with a foster child, who you dedicate just one hour a week to – during this time you might help them with homework, play a game with them, help them read a book or just chill out with them – it’s up to them really! I did the 9-3:30pm training day last Saturday – and will begin as a Pyjama Angel very very soon!
Finally, I volunteer as a student ambassador for Study Sunshine Coast! If you’re reading this, perhaps you already know about this initiative, to get people to come and stay to work, learn and play on the beautiful and diverse Sunny Coast! It’s a pretty great experience, we’ve been able to promote the coast through various awesome activities like Go-karting and visiting Australia Zoo, and proving how the coast opens up holiday/travel opportunities with a trip to Fraser Island, only a 3 hour bus trip from Mooloolaba! We’re also doing something else pretty exciting this month – so stay tuned! We also get to tell our stories to other students about why we came to the Sunshine Coast and why we absolutely loving studying here!
There are SO many things that you can volunteer for within the Sunshine Coast community. I really encourage everyone to do at least something – it’s a brilliant way to give back to the community, support fellow humans and it’s super rewarding. None of the things I do feel like a job, I only do Safe Nite Out once a month, I do Share the Dignity periodically within it’s active collecting months, Pyjama Angels is one hour a week and Study Sunshine Coast is on and off during each month. So you don’t have to give up your job or life to do it!
If you’re interested in any of the things I volunteer for feel free to contact me via email and I’d be more than happy to help > E_L035@student.usc.edu.au.
Otherwise go and apply – there are always positions!
Safe Nite Out – Contact the Service Coordinator Liam, via email > firstname.lastname@example.org
Share the Dignity: Check out the website and apply via > www.sharethedignity.com.au/volunteer-with-us
Pyjama Angels: Apply here: www.thepyjamafoundation.com/volunteer/
Study Sunshine Coast will be recruiting at the end of this year for 2017 student ambassadors! Look out on Facebook and our website for a chance to apply! It’s a pretty awesome gig!
Additionally, check out these sites and google for something that might interest you!
by Elsie Ley – Study Sunshine Coast Student Ambassador