Stories from our Volunteers

The Community Visitors Scheme (CVS) supports by recruiting and matching volunteers to provide friendship and companionship through volunteer visits to care recipients of Australian Government funded residential aged care and home care packages who are isolated or at risk of social isolation or loneliness.

Volunteers are an essential part of Sydney MCS and we are very grateful to have volunteers continuing their services with some volunteers who have been active in our system for over five years. Our volunteers develop positive friendships with elderly clients which help with reducing loneliness and isolation. Most of our volunteers are bilingual migrant refugees who visit the elderly recipients that help them with integrating into Australian culture by giving them tips and tricks. The CVS service we deliver benefits both sides, for the visiting volunteers as well as the recipients. We are thankful to our volunteers for their dedication and contribution.

2022 marks 30 Years of CVS. To celebrate 30 Years of CVS, we have gathered some stories about the endearing bond between our volunteers and recipients below. 

Natalie Waser

Inspiring, intellectual and interesting, these are three words of many I would use to describe the beautiful elderly lady, Mrs. X. I have visited Mrs. X for over one year and have thoroughly enjoyed my visits.

My volunteering recipient, Mrs. X always greets me with a warm welcome and a cup of tea. We both share stories of our families, hobbies, worldly events, and our passions in common including dogs, travel, reading, religion and sports.

For me, Mrs. X has helped fill the gap in my heart after losing my grandparents. We have a special bond and I feel comfortable opening up to her about topics I rarely share with others. It is her great listening ear, supportive advice, and witty humour that makes me feel so blessed to be part of her life journey.

farid silwanis

I am a 65 year old Engineer, Egyptian born, who has been living in Australia for the past 38 years. Professional life is demanding and taxes your life, with so little time left for family and friends. Having recently retired, I suddenly found myself with much time to pursue all the things I would have liked to do earlier but couldn’t. Yet, without having a purpose in living, life becomes meaningless, monotonous, and empty. It was time to give back and volunteer. This decision was easy for me to make, as I come from a family of volunteers. I volunteered in different areas – some are big organisations and others were a simple offer of assistance to anyone that required it wherever I can.

Of particular interest is my experience with Sydney Multicultural Community Services, or SMCS for short. CVS, or Community Visitor Scheme, is a government program to visit older people, providing companionship and friendship on regular basis. I was matched to visit a lovely lady, Patricia, and asked to simply stay in touch regularly, to chat and find areas of common interest to keep the communication going. From the very first phone call we had, I felt I was the lucky one to make her acquaintance.

Patricia is an 85-year-old Canadian born lady. She had many accomplishments in life, not least of which is that she published her own book about her life story. The title of the book (Why God Hates Me) is catching but does not reflect her devotion and faith. I read her book in almost no time and felt as if I have known her all my life. We found many things in common to chat about every week and in between. Patricia is a mother, grandmother, model, beauty queen, photographer, author, amongst many other things. Time with Patricia goes by so fast, conversation moving from one topic to the other. I found I could also confide in her with my own issues and seek her wisdom and advice at times.

Volunteering is not a one-way street. Far from it. Indeed it is reciprocal. You gain new insights, experiences, broaden your horizons and invest your time towards a cause that you believe in. In my case, my biggest gain is in gaining a dear friend. Thank you SMCS and thank you Patricia for being such a great companion.

Hilaria Chan

hilaria chan

Throughout the time of volunteering with Tim Mui Choy, I have always seen her as one of my grandmothers. As we share a similar cultural background and language, we talk about our past and the time blending in Australian culture. Back in the old days, she was a hardworking person. She carried vegetables from China to Hong Kong for sale every day. Life was difficult for her. Later, she settled down in Hong Kong and expanded her network. She had the ability to adapt to a new environment. Even when she came to Australia, she was able to learn some English words to communicate with people better. When we do video calls on the weekends, I could see her good relationship with the care staff. They always provide her with the best fresh fruits and snacks. She treats people well and appreciates others' efforts. When I visited her in person, she gave me all the fruits she has been saving that were stored in her drawer with care. She also shared her favourite biscuits with other people. I learnt how to be generous to people and be grateful about life. Cherish the small things in life.

Tim Mui Choy always has a smile on her face. She is happy to chat with me, she feels happy for me when I have some achievements in life. She always looks forward to talking to me. Sometimes when the call started later than the planned time, she would ask curiously " Why didn't you call me earlier? It is almost lunch time. Have you eaten breakfast yet? ". I think I add some joy to her life and make her day in the nursing home more special. I celebrate Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival with her so that she would feel involved in the tradition. I hope we can maintain this relationship and make our lives brighter.

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