People with disabilities are often seen as passive recipients of services or charitable efforts, who are unable to be contributing members of society. Inclusive Volunteering has been developed to challenge this notion!
Despite having a physical disability myself, I have had a strong connection with volunteering for quite a number of years. During this time, I have had a number of volunteering roles including working as a “companion” in a large residential facility, a “School Librarian” at a special school, doing some research for Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society, volunteering with the Golden Valley Liones Club and The Queensland Victims Homicide Group.
As well as formal volunteering efforts, I have been on numerous committees throughout the years. These committees having ranged from supporting families who have a family member with a disbaility, campaigning for more personalised care for people with disabilities, to planning and writing policies and dealing with issues related to service provision for people with disabilities.
In 2014, I began volunteer work at Mitchelton Special School, initially assisting with administrative tasks. Early in 2015, my role at the school changed to researching and developing volunteer roles for students who either were in there final years of school or who had recently left school. This project was reasonably successful and provided me with a lightbulb moment “Why couldn’t I establish my own business, linking people with disabilities to volunteer opportunities within the community?”, from this moment Inclusive Volunteering was born.
Extensive research revealed that there was a great need for somebody to find volunteer roles in our community for people 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 two main programs, our School Leavers’ Pathway Program is a supported internship type program specifically designed for young people with disabilities who are just about to leave or who have recently left school. This program involves the participant working with a mentor (provided by Inclusive Volunteering) to develop the skills they will need in the workplace.
Our Adult Mentoring Program is for the people with disabilities aged between 25 to 40 who wish to make a valuable contribution to their community. This program runs along similar guidelines as the School Leavers’ Pathway Program.
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