Peter steps into volunteering


Earlier this year, local Waterford Valley residents are called upon to volunteer in local schools as part of a popular intergenerational school volunteering Emerging Stronger program, run by EdConnect Australia.

Peter Ireland, EdConnect Australia volunteer and Waterford Valley retirement village resident quickly reached out to put his hand up to participate. Peter tells us about his experience below.

“Retirement gives you the time to do the things you enjoy. I play lawn bowls at the Ferntree Gully Bowling Club and enjoy Pennant Bowls very much. Sadly, no premiership as yet,” he said with a laugh.

“My late wife and I sold our home in Scoresby in 2010 and moved into the Waterford Valley Lakes Retirement Village in Rowville where I still reside,” he continued.

“EdConnect Australia was mentioned in our retirement village newsletter and it interested me as I have been a volunteer Justice of the Peace for 42 years, and to be “giving back” is very important and doesn’t hurt. I also gave a long and hard thought to what it might be like helping out at a school and assisting teachers with their roles in tutoring children,” said Peter.

After completing his application, paperwork and training modules, Peter began volunteering at a local school.

“I have started volunteering at the local primary school, Karoo Primary School in Rowville with the Grade 3 and 4 students, and from my first day I thoroughly enjoyed it. Before I started volunteering I thought I would, and now I know, learn from the students. The grade 3 and 4 students are helping me and I am learning from them – believe it or not! As I said to one of the teachers during my induction at the school, you never ever stop learning,” Peter said.

“Volunteering with EdConnect Australia has already been very rewarding and when you see a student who has learning difficulties get/earn a reward, the look on their face with their achievement is just beautiful.”

“On the last day of Term 1, the school had their Easter Parade with the teachers, students, and parents. The dress-ups by the teachers and students was just terrific.  I spoke to the Wellbeing Teacher and can’t wait for the next dress-up day to participate,” he said.

“If you are thinking about volunteering, don’t leave it too late and miss out. Enjoy the time, participate and help while you can. It’s fun and most enjoyable, and very satisfying.”

EdConnect Australia offer a variety of ways that people can help in local schools, from listening to students read, library support, assisting with kitchen garden programs or general classroom support. Call 1800 668 550 to apply today.