Changing lives, changing communities

Celebrating our volunteers

This year's National Volunteer Week theme, "Changing lives, Changing communities" celebrates the impact volunteers have in our community, and indeed the impact that volunteering can have in their lives.

Connect Health & Community relies on a wonderful army of volunteers who make it possible for us to deliver services across south-eastern and bayside Melbourne.

A few of our volunteers have shared with us their touching stories of change or transformation in recent times.

We thank our amazing volunteers for their stories published below.

Thoughts by Eve C

'Covid Lady' was one of the many paintings arising from Eve's art to help her process the COVID pandemic.

As the unthinkable became reality, I found myself becoming obsessed, grasping at any news/ information related to Covid 19, and rapidly sinking into an abyss of fear and confusion. Although there had been challenging times in my 73 years,I had never felt the uneasy feeling of disempowerment as during the initial era of isolation.

The horrifying news of how the infection impacted older folk, especially those with co-morbidities; the observation of panic stricken shoppers crazed behaviour and the snaking queues of the unemployed, all compounded my distress. My sleep patterns became disjointed and erratic with dreams of impending dread.

The Ruby Princess was a significant figure in Australia's COVID experience.

It was the strange feeling of “unrest“ that drove me to make my thoughts tangible where I could deal with them. The result is my interpretation of how Covid 19 affected my psyche....... “THE  Covid 19 Series” Pastel Paintings. 

The activity allowed me to become more of an objective spectator and regain my autonomy over fear.

Eve C.


Lyn's experience

My name is Lyn.  I would like to share with you a moment of revelation in my life.

Not so long ago a chance meeting led to my life culminating in a new sense of myself – a feeling of completeness, an inner happiness and fulfillment.

I’ve always considered myself a ‘People Person’.   I like people – old, young, male, female.  I volunteer five days a week.  I like to help wherever, whenever.  It keeps me purposeful and happy. 

I have experienced a good and successful life.  Married, reared two wonderful sons, enjoyed a happy family life, including a grandson whom I adore.

This chance meeting suddenly rammed home the emergence of a long, repressed desire – that of the role of foster-parenting children in need. 

My husband, being an only child, had not understood this need of mine.  On reflection all these years later, I had blocked this desire, concentrating on the life Pete and I had formed.  Life continued and I thought I was content.

The fateful morning I jumped into a taxi nonchalantly chatting as is usual for me – I was about to come to the realisation that I had been given a gift.

The driver, a young man from Bangladesh, a husband and a father of two lovely young daughters, talked about his early life. 

In my mind’s eye, I saw a young lad existing in a third-world country, needing and deserving so much more than he had. 

This image (compared to my own childhood) tugged at my heartstrings.

Children don’t ask to be born – they should be looked after, protected.

In further conversations he talked of coming to our beautiful country and of his desperate desire to become an Australian citizen. 

His smile lit up his face, his eyes sparkled at the thought of forging a new life for his young family here. 

I became caught up in his enthusiasm.  To cut a long story short, to quote an elderly relative of mine, I was handed the opportunity to help his dream come true. 

Together he and I, with support from my mum, worked to prove the necessary criteria set by the Powers that Be. 

He now simply waits for the official documents to arrive – having been assured of Permanent Residency in Australia.

That fateful meeting not only brought fruition to the dream for a new life for he and his family, but it transformed my life, allowing me to come full-circle.

I have adopted them in my heart.

Life is GREAT!

P.S.  On Mother’s day this year (2020) I was thanked in the most lovely way – being told that the

I have kept occupied by knitting rabbits, dogs and bears as well as beanies and booties for the babies and the polyester filled balls for kids to play indoors.

loss of their late parents and grandparents had been lessened.  They again felt a sense of extended family and being loved.

A ‘Win Win’ for all – It was meant to be.

I am sure! 




Quarantine experience

This quarantine experience has come with many mixed emotions like us all. Although I live by myself I can still hear the neighbours every now and then which is comforting. Through this period I was suddenly disconnected from my studio space and my fellow artists and I find using myself using materials that I don’t normally use such as aluminium foil from the kitchen, having the time to try new materials. 

As the world has changed so dramatically so quickly, I feel fortunate have been blessed with

Tamar is grateful for her creativity and art at this time.

creativity to take this time to explore the ways in which art can enhance wellbeing and can be used as an outlet to explore meaning to make sense and to add positivity amongst the world’s unrest.

To view my artworks please visit:

I’m currently taking enquirers for commissions please contact me; 

Tamar D.

From Kerry B

The only short story I would like to share is if you are taking up riding again practice emergency braking especially when traveling at any speed.

Don't panic, slam on the front brake without shifting your weight toward the back.

The outcome will possibly be, over the handle bars, numerous bruises, gravel rashes on your elbows and knees and a cracked radius into the wrist which will require the arm in plaster for 6 weeks.

The positive is that I have got out of the cooking, the negative is that I didn't know that there were so many places you can't get to when showering.

Only 4 weeks to go. 

Thanks, Kerry B 

 Contribution from Helen N




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