A chance to give and learn

A chance to give and learn

As workplaces and schools were preparing to wind down for the holiday period last year, Baptcare was busying itself with a new initiative. Twenty six university students were accepted to take part in Baptcare’s inaugural Summer Volunteer program at our Camberwell office.

As part of the Summer Volunteer program, students were split into 12 projects that they would undertake from late November, finishing at the end of February this year. There was a wide variety of projects ranging from occupational health and safety to volunteer recruitment.

For many of the volunteers it was their first opportunity to work in an office environment; an opportunity they relished.

“The feeling I get when I finish the project and go home. I have not got that as part of my previous experience,” said Sehan Pushparaja who, along with Norman Wong, worked on the IT for social impact project.

Norman and Sehan have secured an agreement for free internet for asylum seekers living in Baptcare’s Houses of Hope. This will allow Houses of Hope residents to pursue education, search for jobs and complete daily tasks as they wait for their asylum status to be granted.

“I have a sense of achievement that I am contributing to the community somehow and maybe another family is happy because of the work I have done,” said Sehan.

IT for social impact was not the only project Norman and Sehan were working on.

Together with Maria Varela, Norman and Sehan helped Baptcare research and select a new software management system for Baptcare’s volunteers.

Despite finding the project challenging, with English being Maria’s second language, she said she enjoyed the trust and responsibility given to her.

“You come here and people trust you to do your job,” said Maria.

The “embracing” and “diverse” culture at Baptcare has been key to the personal development of our volunteers and has contributed to the success of the projects. Baptcare Volunteer Program Lead, Dominique Elliot said it was important for the volunteers to embrace Baptcare’s value centric culture.

The impact of volunteers has been noted around the office, with staff members blown away by the projects undertaken.

The value of the volunteers is not something lost on Vincent Leung, who was project manager of the Value of a Volunteer project.

In this project Vincent was tasked with assigning “some monetary value to Baptcare’s volunteer efforts to calculate a return on investment”. Vincent estimates that this summer’s volunteers have generated over $100,000 of value to Baptcare.

“I also did a break-even point and changed one of the metrics to the total amount invested in volunteers to the amount of value generated by volunteers,” said Vincent.

In just 26 working days, the efforts of Baptcare’s volunteers has made a real difference. Projects are being implemented to help Baptcare continue to partner with people to create communities where every person is cherished.

“Some of the greatest impacts that the volunteers have had at Baptcare has been their ability to offer fresh ideas”, said Dominique.

“So many people commented to me how fantastic it was to have the students in the office,” said Dominique.

“Hearing from Baptcare staff that they are really excited by the work we are doing, and they don’t think it’s possible for our work to get lost because they are so engaged with it; that was a really valuable experience,” said Michelle Saffin, who worked on a student leadership project to help Baptcare with recognising primary and secondary students’ volunteering efforts.

The success of the Summer Volunteer program has encouraged Baptcare to undertake a winter intake for volunteers this year, as we plan to expand our volunteer pool from just under 700 to 1000 by the end of this year.

Details and dates for this will be confirmed towards the end of the university semester.

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17 May 2019

Baptcare joins National Redress Scheme

Baptcare Victoria and Tasmania has joined the National Redress Scheme to provide acknowledgement and support to people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse. The Scheme was created in response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which estimated that 60,000 people experienced institutional child sexual abuse in Australia. Redress is an alternative to seeking compensation through the courts and can provide people with access to: counselling;a payment; anda direct personal response from the institution (for example an apology) for people who want it.The Scheme started on 1 July 2018 and will run for 10 years. Baptcare has now joined the Scheme, which means that if there are people who were abused in the care of Baptcare, they can apply to the Scheme for redress. Baptcare also represents the following defunct institutions: Abercare (Price Street, Essendon), Abercare (Buckley Street, Essendon), Abercare (Niddrie), Abercare (Keilor), Abercare (Moonee Ponds), Westside Children’s Home, Heathmont Family Group Home, Boronia Family Group Home, Baptist Social Services, Baptist Community Care Ltd. We believe it is vitally important to endorse and join this Scheme, supporting people who have experienced abuse. People can apply now using an online or paper form. Free and confidential Redress Support Services are available throughout the process. For more information, visit nationalredress.gov.au or call the National Redress Scheme line on 1800 737 377. -ENDS- About BaptcareBaptcare is a purpose driven organisation focused on delivering the best of care to people of all ages, cultures, beliefs and circumstances. Through our social enterprise model, we deliver better outcomes for more than 13,000 people in our community, combining the best commercial practice with a social a heart. Baptcare has more than 3,000 dedicated staff across Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia to deliver the best of care to people in Residential Aged Care, Retirement Living, In Home Care, Family and Children Services, Affordable Housing and Disability