International Volunteer Day is a day to celebrate the contribution of volunteers around the world. This year, the theme is “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.” It recognises that volunteers are present, all around us, answering calls in times of need, helping save lives today, and supporting those who want to continue living their lives with dignity tomorrow.
CatholicCare is blessed to have a terrific group of generous volunteers who embody this message by showing initiative and helping others to “live their lives with dignity”. To mark International Volunteer Day, we thought we’d share an interview with one of our newest volunteers who is contributing to an innovative program designed by CatholicCare to build resilience in children.
About the Triple R Program
The Triple R (Robust, Resilient and Ready to Go) program is a school- based program developed by CatholicCare to assist primary school children to better understand their feelings, manage worrying thoughts, improve peer relationships, and improve their sleep habits. Children attend 10 x 1-hour sessions, and parents also attend sessions on ways they can assist their child. Many children who complete Triple R take on a leadership responsibility in their school and become ‘Triple R Champions’ teaching their peers the skills they have learnt.
The program has been run in a number of schools across Melbourne over the past few years and is currently delivered by Family Counsellor, Angela Donohue, with the assistance of a wonderful volunteer, Emma Schwab, both of whom are based at the Dandenong office.
Meet Emma Schwab, our Triple R volunteer
Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you got involved in volunteering with CatholicCare?
I am currently studying Psychology with Honours at Deakin University and have just completed my first year. I have a passion to help others and sometimes this means I have a bit too much on my plate but I love a challenge. What attracted me to CatholicCare and the amazing Triple R program, is the idea that I am able to help children gain a deeper and more clear understanding of themselves and their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and how to be mindful of these.
What is your role in the Triple R program and how long have you been a volunteer?
I work with Angela, an amazing Family Counsellor who is incredible with the children in the program and my role is to assist her in delivering the content to the children. I only recently started volunteering with CatholicCare (about six weeks ago) in the Triple R program, and have learnt so much already.
What are some of the positive impacts that Triple R is having on students and the school community?
The children in the program engage very well with the program content and are always keen to learn something new each week. They are more confident in sharing their thoughts with the group and I have seen some positive relationships bloom as a result. The school community is blessed to have a lovely school Chaplain, Dorothy who works with Angela and me each week, who has also developed further her relationships with the students. Students reach out to Dorothy and can talk about any concerns or problems they may be facing.
International Volunteer Day is on 5 December. The theme is “Volunteers Act First. Here. Everywhere.” This is to recognise how volunteers show initiative and respond when needs arise, and to help support “those who want to live their lives with dignity tomorrow”. Can you share an example of how you have shown initiative or innovation in helping support a student?
I have shown initiative by finding interesting content to add to the sessions to provide more in depth knowledge, whether this be through a hands on activity or new knowledge that the children are always eager to engage with and learn from.
How has volunteering in the Triple R program benefited/enriched you so far?
The Triple R program has helped me to learn a lot about myself and how I deal with my own thoughts, feelings and emotions. I have learnt so much about children and the best way to interact with them in order to gain their full attention and further developed my communication skills with younger people.
What are you working towards for the future?
Working with these children and Angela in this program, has confirmed why I am studying Psychology and I hope that in future I will be working with children helping them to get the most out of life
To Emma, and all the volunteers who have contributed to our programs, we say THANK YOU for your time, energy and expertise!
Find out more about International Volunteer Day.
Read more about CatholicCare’s Volunteer Program.