Inclusive Volunteering provides a highly personalised and responsive service to potential volunteers with disabilities and/or their families, by finding volunteer opportunities within the community that suit the unique needs of each individual volunteer with a disability.
Inclusive Volunteering has developed a number of resources, both for volunteers with disabilities and their families and for organisations/businesses who have, or wish to engage in the services of volunteers with disabilities.
Inclusive Volunteering also offers advisory services to organisations/businesses who have volunteers with disabilities. These services include assisting organisations/businesses to develop Disability Action Plans, implementing Disability Awareness Training and assisting organisations/businesses to create more inclusive work environments.
Board of Directors
Melissa Ryan is the founder and current Managing Director of Inclusive Volunteering. She has an extensive background working within the disability field, which includes being on various committees related to the strategic planning and management aspects of providing services to people with disabilities. Melissa has completed Certificates III & IV in Disability Services and also has a Diploma in Business Management. She is passionate about the rights of people with disability to live in the community, having been part of an Alliance to assist younger people with disabilities to move out of Aged Care facilities into more appropriate accommodation. She has also undertaken numerous volunteer roles within the disability sector, including being an official visitor to four young people who live in a large residential facility, assisting with writing funding submissions and policies and procedures and has had roles in assisting with library work and administrative roles in Special Schools. Having a disability herself (Cerebral Palsy) and extensive experience in undertaking volunteer roles in the community, she is well aware of the barriers facing people with disabilities, when it comes to volunteering.
Kelley Reeves married with 2 young children, has been working as an AIN in the Disability and Aged care sectors, for the last three years. Prior to having children, Kelley worked as a National Sales Manager at Unilever Australasia and held multiple fundraisers for an organisation in Northen Uganda, where she volunteered for 3 months in 2011.
Lauren has extensive experienced with Business Management, Human Resources, training staff and business mentoring. She first started mentoring Branch Managers at Shine Lawyers, helping them to identify the major causes of poor performance and working with them to achieve their desired targets. In 2010, Lauren was appointed as one of the Program Managers of the Transformation Project, responsible for the development of a strategy and implementation of a framework for Lean and Law 9000. Lauren is incredibly passionate about connecting people to what they love to do and assisting them with their growth journey. She loves being able to support Small Business Owners to take control of their business and achieve their vision for success through being a Business Mentor. Lauren also enjoys immersing herself in traditional cultures during her travel adventures, indulging in fine food and wine experiences and spending time with her family.
Maria is currently the managing Director of Bespoke Lifestyles. She has expertise in Business systems, industrial relations and human resources. Maria is passionate about keeping processes straightforward and effortless so families and individuals can concentrate on building and maintaining a good life for their family member with a disability. Maria emigrated to Australia from the United Kingdom in 1991 and was appointed as Managing Director of Bespoke Lifestyles (an agency specialising in self-directed funding for people with disabilities) in 2015. She is a devoted advocate for self-direction and works hard for the rights of families and individuals to have choice, control and flexibility to hire their own workers.
A little bit about how Inclusive Volunteering began…
While conducting extensive research into volunteer roles for the disabled in the local community Melissa find that the community was severally lacking in someone to find such roles for the disabled. Young people with disabilities who have just left school or older people with disabilities who were interested in volunteering had no source of information on how to negotiate a volunteer role suited to their particular needs within the community.
Having a disability herself – Cerebral Palsy – which affects her speech, fine gross motor skills and balance when walking allowed her to develop a strong connection of volunteering for quite a number of years. Throughout this time, she had a number of volunteering roles including working as a “companion” in a large residential facility for people with severe/complex disabilities, a “School Librarian” at a special school, doing some research for Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, volunteering with the Golden Valley Lioness Club and The Queensland Victims Homicide Group.
However, in 2014 while volunteering at Mitchelton Special School, intially assisting with administrative tasks. Early in 2015, her role at the school changed to researching and developing volunteer roles for students who either were in there final years of school who had recently left school. This project was reasonably successful which provided her with a lightbulb moment – Why couldn’t she establish her own business linking people with disabilities up with volunteer opportunities within the community – and Inclusive Volunteering was born!