My name is Sam and I was recently lucky enough to be offered an internship as the Marketing and Communications assistant at United Way WA. It has been an amazing learning experience for me personally and it has already provided me with the opportunity to be a part of some life changing events.
One of these amazing events was a volunteering day which was run in partnership with one of our corporate partners Bankwest and one of our fantastic community partners People Who Care. We came together to make a lasting difference to the life of an elderly man named Don.
Don’s life recently experienced a drastic change when his wife and life partner was admitted to nursing aged care leaving Don on his lonesome. Further to Don’s situation was his amazing yet overgrown back garden area. He was crying out for both some precious company and some experienced gardeners to tame his backyard that had become a hazard for both him and his neighbours.
People Who Care are an amazing organisation that provide much needed backyard services to those who aren’t physically able to so themselves. They had two of their extremely enthusiastic workers attend Don’s home to guide our twelve wonderful Bankwest volunteers on how they could shape Don’s backyard to a more manageable level.
I had the privilege of merely being a fly on the wall at this event while I was attempting to document the four life changing hours at Don’s home. I couldn’t help but ditch the camera and get my hands dirty as we sheered overrun branches, pulled weeds and bagged masses of green waste for Don.
Don and I spoke about so many things throughout the day and the connection I felt with him was quite special. We spoke about how his bougainvillea had been running rampant over the neighbours fence, how his poor poodle had become both deaf and blind and Don also showed me his karate trophies from when he was my age.
Don, who normally only has the company of his poodle, was so grateful for the work that was being done on his backyard. However, I couldn’t help but notice that this day of volunteering was less about the gardening but more about the special company Don received for the day while we worked. It was so obvious that Don loved every moment he shared with us all and this company will continue every fortnight as People Who Care come and tend to his backyard.
I left Don’s home with a feeling of pride and happiness with what we achieved as a group on the day.
I couldn’t help smiling thinking about how Don insisted he was going to plant more bougainvillea plants so we would have to come back as a group sooner to help tame them again.
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ARTICLE PUBLISHED 28/05/2019 BY SAMUEL MONKHOUSE
Samuel is an up and coming marketing creative, content creator and current member of the United Way WA team as a Marketing and Communications Intern.