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“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” – Elizabeth Andrew.
We often speak of the value of volunteering to the individual but do not reflect on the value of our volunteers. Many One Door programs have long been supported by a league of volunteers, all who have become integral to the success of One Door Mental Health as a leading service provider. The value of the dedication, compassion, support and understanding of each volunteer at One Door is immeasurable.
It would be fair to say, some programs would not be able to function as effectively as they do without those who find the extra time to lend a helping hand. On Fire is one of these programs. On Fire has provided many opportunities to Young Carers for connection, social support, education and, most of all, fun.
On Fire was built from the hard work and dedication of health care professionals, carers and concerned community members, who saw a need to come together to find a solution for young people whose lives were affected by mental illness. Our volunteers, referred to as leaders, were the anchor of the program. They established On Fire, applied for funding, advocated for support and facilitated many fun days out and camps. It was these great leaders who brought the program to One Door to be developed into the program that it has become. Many of the founding leaders continue today and support other emerging leaders and members into the program. As our industry and programs change, we will continue to look forward to what the future holds. We are still advocating for our program, but for now, we would like to take a moment to reflect on its achievements and say thank you to the On Fire leaders.
We express our gratitude for jumping, climbing, running, swimming and crawling through many adventures with us. We thank you for taking the time to listen, care, console and wipe tears when needed. We thank you for finding lost jumpers, glasses, shoes, and at times, words. We thank you for spending time with new members who start the program with trepidation but with your support build confidence, resilience, strength and learn to value themselves. We thank you for building trust with our families and creating conversations in which they feel heard. We thank you for giving up your weekends, weekdays, and sometimes evenings, to facilitate our fun days out, out camps and community events. We thank you for your flexibility and acceptance when changes to the program have resulted in periods of uncertainty, yet, your support has not wavered.
We are very grateful for all of the leaders who have been, and still are, apart of the On Fire program and their impact on the lives of so many young carers.
Desiree O’Donnell & Elli Purchase,
On Fire Coordinators - South West Sydney, South East Sydney, and Newcastle.