How volunteering benefited Men’s Shed coordinator Denny and community members with disability

By Emma Parsons, 12 May 2016 , Comments

Queanbeyan local Denny Christensen says the reason he volunteers is simple. “It gives me a good feeling. I feel really happy that I’ve helped someone.”

Denny started volunteering with Northcott a few months ago because of a determined young man named John Catling. John has an intellectual disability and has aspired for many years to get a job working with wood.

Northcott’s Life Skills Coordinator in Queanbeyan, Siemie Steffans put John in touch with the Men’s Shed where Denny was the coordinator. Thanks to the relationship that the two men built, Denny decided to start volunteering at Northcott.

“It started out because of John but I just got further and further involved,” said Denny.

Prior to his retirement Denny worked as a coach driver but confesses to being a handy man and “just a bloke that loves working with timber”.

Denny has now worked with John and a number of other young Northcott customers on projects such as building timber garden beds, bird houses and other gardening projects.

Denny and a Northcott customer smiling and working in the sensory gardenAside from the hands-on training that Denny provides, he also helps out with general maintenance, fundraising barbecues and he even coordinated a sponsorship initiative that helped Northcott obtain free building materials for its sensory garden.

With support from Denny and Northcott, John was able to land himself a job at a local business and is now saving to go on a holiday.

Denny expressed his joy at the news that John had landed himself a job.

“I felt good for him. I even went over and had a look a couple of times.

“I think there should be more of it. More people should be willing to help these young fellas. There should be more opportunities for young people like John.”

The staff at Northcott Queanbeyan and the young people that Denny works with value his contribution to the program and their learning immensely.

For anyone that has considered volunteering but has been hesitant for any reason, Denny has this message – “Go for it”.

“You will enjoy it. It gives me a really good feeling to come home and know that I’ve helped someone and taught someone skills that they can use during their life.”

If you are interested in volunteering with Northcott or would like to know more please register your interest on Northcott’s Volunteer with us page.

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