I recently retired after spending 25 years working in Aged Care and I felt the need to do something meaningful for others as well as for myself.

I contacted CISC, and after the official interview, I began the course, armed with a helpful mentor to assist me with the completion of my assignments and to give me valuable insight into the culture and workings of the organisation. The course provided skills that would assist when interviewing clients and help manage behaviours that I might encounter.

As the course progressed and I completed interviews with the assistance and presence of my mentor I became more and more excited to be involved with such an amazing organisation. I felt as though I was in my element. I will admit that some of the stories I heard were very emotional and far from the lifestyle I am accustomed too, but with listening, providing empathy and not being judgemental, I found that I was certainly making a difference to some of the lives I was touching.

At CISC we encounter cultural and language barriers, and stories of despair. I have learned a lot about violent relationships, mental health, addiction, incarceration, and I have learned to have the confidence to listen and to assist. I love to listen and allow the client to be heard. The story might have been told before, but it is so important to let people know that their lives are valued, no matter what. To ensure the person understands the information that I might be sharing. Repeating this information is often important, as people will not always immediately understand all of the information we give them; language is and can be a huge barrier. Body language is also so important – a welcoming smile and being open is so necessary to increase trust. Just to inform people of the support that is available and that we can help them access various services can really make a difference to some people.

Being a volunteer at CISC can be a demanding but rewarding position, but with the other team members we all find we can work together to provide support and real solutions to problems that we may never encounter in our own environment.

At CISC, I have found a place that provides stimulating work as well as a social outlet.