30 Jan Victim Support “With you, every step”
Volunteer support workers from Victim Support are ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference. Maria and Fred are part of a small group of volunteers working in the Wairarapa.
Maria, a volunteer for almost five years says, “we come from all walks of life; nursing, teaching, retail, hospitality, real estate, some retired with grandchildren and with different hobbies; motorbikes, e-bikes, golf clubs. Whether we work full-time, part-time, or are retired, we fit volunteering around our lives and vice-versa to cover the roster 24/7 (when we can).”
Fred, a Wairarapa local for 16 years is a retired nurse and has been a Volunteer support worker for almost two years. The cases that Fred has worked on have ranged from the extremes of the Christchurch shootings, the sudden loss of a loved one to an elderly lady who had the air in the tyres of her mobility scooter let out.
“These are all very distressing situations to the people affected, and the range of support needed can be ongoing for several months. You don’t need to be someone special, but just someone that is a good listener, someone who cares, and is prepared to get alongside people so they are not alone in dealing with the issue they are faced with”, says Fred.
Maria says, “we support families in times of sudden death, suicide, crime, trauma, from burglaries, home invasion, car accidents, feuding neighbours and family harm. Whenever I hear a siren I think; I hope those people are ok and wonder who is on the roster”.
“I was lucky enough (along with several other of our incredible support workers from Wairarapa) to be able to travel to Christchurch several times after the March 15 Mosque attacks to support victims who were present, injured and shot at the Mosques and also families of deceased victims. This is an experience I will always be grateful for and never forget”, says Maria.
Paula Connolly, Wellington Area Manager for Victim Support says, “we are looking for people who have time to give back to their community, who have a passion for helping and advocating for people and want to be part of an organisation that helps people in crime or trauma events to support their recovery.”
“There is nothing more rewarding than to see the smile on people’s faces knowing you have helped them to bring closure and recover from their trauma. If you volunteer you will become part of a supportive team led by Gwen our team leader and the Volunteer team is always ready to support and help one-another if needed”, says Fred.
“I feel it is a privilege to be allowed into someone’s life, in what can be their darkest time, to be there to listen (on the phone or in person) when they don’t want to burden their friends and family. I call it walking beside people until they don’t need/want me anymore”, says Maria.