When Di Thompson left a full time job she did not particularly enjoy, she knew that she wanted to do something meaningful with her time in retirement.
“I have always volunteered in some capacity with whatever spare time I have available as I believe that we need to give something back to the community we live in,” she reflected.
Di heard about local non-profit organisation STAR Community Services and immediately signed up to become an owner-driver.
She said as a volunteer owner-driver she got to drive STAR’s elderly clients in her own car.
“This volunteer role has been special for so many reasons,” she said.
“I truly enjoy that my service is making such a big difference to other people’s lives.
“Many elderly live on their own but have the desire to be independent and not call on their friends or relatives to drive them.
“By using community transport services like STAR, they can maintain their independence. They feel they are not inconveniencing anyone.
“Not only do I drive them to their doctors’ appointments, but I also take them to the shops, to the hairdresser, swimming pool or even to have a coffee with a friend. They truly enjoy their outings and it keeps them connected to their friends and family.”
Volunteers using their own vehicle need to make sure my car meets STAR’s safety regulations.
For example, it needs to be less than 10 years old, regularly serviced and cleaned.
STAR reimburses volunteers for their mileage as per the ATO rate.
Di said volunteering for her was an exchange of energy.
“I get as much out of volunteering as I give. I truly enjoy my conversations with the seniors,” she said.
“They have interesting stories and a perspective on world that can only come with experience. They are so thankful and express their appreciation, not a single day goes by when I don’t enjoy my work.”
For more information on becoming, a volunteer with STAR call Natalie Perrett on 0448 895 642.