Volunteering puts smiles on people’s faces

By Mary Brazell, 23 May 2021
CatholicCare volunteer Sean Moylan (C) receives an award for his volunteering as part of 2021 Seniors Week from the Blue Mountains City Council. Image: Supplied


Sean Moylan was in the thick of it as NSW battled a dramatic bushfire season at the beginning of 2020.

Serving as a volunteer firefighter for 11 years in the Rural Fire Service, he was travelling up and down the coast, trying to help control the devastation.

But despite whatever exhaustion he had, Sean chose to spend his few days of rest committed to his other volunteer work at CatholicCare’s Springwood Drop-In Centre.

“I think I only missed a couple of days volunteering for CatholicCare during the summer,” Sean told Catholic Outlook.

“I saw it as a way to slow down and to step back from it all.”

Sean started volunteering at the Drop-In Centre a couple of years ago after being approached to volunteer in the street. As he was retired, he and his wife decided that it was the right time to start helping the community. “It was a no brainer,” he says.

Sean offers his skills and knowledge as a digital mentor, helping older residents of the Blue Mountains become tech savvy, alleviating any worries and fears they have around computers, smartphones and the internet.

“Some of my clients come in and know very little about technology, and they are realising that they have to adapt to the changing times, as some government agencies are mostly based online,” he said.

“The feedback I get is great. I get such a joy knowing that clients aren’t afraid anymore of the technology, and especially during COVID, they were able to keep in contact with families when they weren’t able to meet face to face.”

The Springwood centre, situated on the main street, close to the train station, was shut during the peak of lockdown. Fortunately, it has been able to reopen to the community, with all the proper practices in place.

Sean explains that even though face-to-face meetings were stopped, the demand for his services is still there, with residents feeling more confident in returning to the centre.

“The Drop-In Centre is a great concept. It provides a place and opportunity for people that might not socialise with others as much, even something as simple as being able to discuss an issue they’re having with someone else.

“You get a lot out of coming here,” he says.

When asked what he would recommend to those unsure about taking that first step towards volunteering, Sean encourages people to just give it a go.

“You definitely get more out of it than you put in. Time is more valuable when you give it away for a great cause.

“There are always going to be people in need of assistance, and as humans, we have a calling to help one another.

“I feel a sense of satisfaction in being able to help people and seeing the smiles on their faces.

“To me, volunteering is about putting smiles on people’s faces.”

CatholicCare’s Springwood Drop-In Centre are looking for a volunteer receptionist/administration assistant to cover a three-hour shift, either 10am to 1pm or 1pm to 4pm.

For more information, or to apply, please contact Sally Butler, Community Outreach Officer on (02) 8843 2545 or Sally.Butler@ccss.org.au

National Volunteer Week runs from 17 to 23 May.


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