RIDBC celebrates National Volunteer Week

Robina enjoys volunteering at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School every Friday.

Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) held a morning tea to thank its more than 1500 volunteers during National Volunteer Week, May 12 – 16.

The morning tea was held on Friday 16 May as a way of acknowledging those who contribute to RIDBC’s volunteering program, which plays a vital role in ensuring that RIDBC staff can continue to deliver services to children with hearing or vision loss both locally, and around Australia.

“Volunteering is vital to RIDBC – it is central to our culture and to our ability to provide services. RIDBC’s volunteers generously give their time both at the North Rocks headquarters and sites across NSW. In 2013, volunteers contributed over 21,000 hours of support to RIDBC. Their contribution is invaluable, and we thank them for their ongoing support,” said RIDBC Chief Executive, Chris Rehn.

19 year old student, Robina, has been volunteering at RIDBC since 2013. She is currently studying Medical Science at University of Technology, and hoping to transfer into Medicine.

“I originally looked into volunteering to find some work that would be relevant to my university transfer application,” said Robina. “Now I realise that I absolutely love it!”

Robina first volunteered with RIDBC Allied Health Unit where she helped with administration tasks. She now volunteers in the classroom at RIDBC Alice Betteridge School, which caters for students who have a significant vision or hearing loss as well as a level of intellectual impairment.

“I’m coming in for six hours every Friday to support the teachers in the classroom,” said Robina. “To see the smiles on the faces of the students, or to see that they are progressing, is fantastic. They do have a disability so for me to do something as simple as helping them with an artwork is personally very satisfying. Last week the class was making Mother’s Day cards so I was helping with that.

“I’m studying and working and I still want to volunteer. Sometimes it baffles me that I find the time but I think other young people should volunteer as well! It’s great for a future employer to see and it also makes you feel grateful. Working at RIDBC has opened my eyes in a way – I have siblings and when I come to RIDBC and see the obstacles that other kids face it makes me realise what we have.”

RIDBC volunteers assist with a variety of tasks including; classroom tasks, formatting material for vision impaired children, gardening, administration, fundraising and transport. To find out more visit www.ridbc.org.au/volunteers or call 02 9872 0345.

RIDBC provides a wide range of quality, innovative services and educational programs for children with hearing or vision loss, from the first weeks of a child’s life, right through their teenage years.

RIDBC relies heavily on fundraising and community support to be able to continue to make a difference in the lives of children with hearing or vision loss.  In order to maintain its intensive educational and research programs, the organisation needs to raise approximately $2.5 million every month.