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Volunteer Vault #1

Last week we provided an update on where we sit in terms of numbers.

Across Sydney and the Central Coast, we have 151 current pairings, with 76 buddies and 418 volunteers still waiting on a match.

Having so many matches means we have plenty of stories to tell. As such, we’re starting a new feature entitled the ‘Gig Buddies volunteer vault.’

Photo caption: Megan left, Chelsea right, above. “One reason why Chelsea and I get along so well is because neither of us are on our phone that much and we never take pictures! It’s in no way a reflection of how much we enjoy each other’s company” - Megan

On the last Monday of each month we’ll bring you the opinions of an exisiting volunteer. We kick off things with Megan, pictured above with buddy Chelsea.

- How long have you been volunteering with Gig Buddies?

Since May 2019. Time flies when you're having fun.

- Is Gig Buddies your first volunteering role?

Gig Buddies is not my first volunteering role, but it is one that I love! I also volunteer with a group called Achilles Australia. They are a wonderful group who facilitate training and participation in running and walking events in a supportive social environment where people with disabilities can achieve life changing goals.

- Why do you volunteer with Gig Buddies?

I volunteer with Gig Buddies because I was instantly drawn to the ethos and mission of the organisation. I love that Gig Buddies focuses on an individual's strengths and on enabling people from all walks of life to partake in the best social events on offer across Sydney. The Gig Buddies community is extremely warm and welcoming, and it has been a pleasure to volunteer with them over the past three years.

- How would you describe your volunteering experience with Gig Buddies?

The Gig Buddies experience for me has been so much fun and extremely rewarding. The Gig Buddies crew put together an incredible list of activities each month, providing numerous opportunities to partake in a wide range of events. My gig buddy Chelsea and I have participated in outings such as comedy shows, netball games, walks along some of Sydney’s most stunning beaches and parks, Archibald Art visits, silent discos, and of course the annual Gig Buddies Christmas party. I really enjoy the variety of outings that are on offer as well as the chance to meet new and wonderful people at the events.

- Tell us about some of the highlights from your time volunteering with Gig Buddies?

There are many! I think Chelsea and I would both agree that the Silent Disco at the Sydney Aquarium was one of our favourite events (we love a good dance floor). There was such a great turn out for the event and you could feel how much enjoyment everyone had from letting their hair down and having a dance. It was also such a special experience to have the Aquarium all to ourselves for the night.

Another highlight was the chance to march in the Sydney Mardi Gras Parade in 2021. I will always remember the excitement and pride I had marching across the field of the SCG and how the crowd went wild when the Gig Buddies dancers went past. It is an event I look forward to participating in again for sure!

- What would you say to someone reading this who is thinking about volunteering with Gig Buddies?

I would say, go for it! You won’t regret it! The Gig Buddies community are a passionate and welcoming group of people, and the staff work extremely hard to support all participants through their journey. The Gig Buddies team did a fantastic job of preparing me for the volunteering experience through their training program. I found it really informative and it helped me feel confident as a buddy heading into the experience.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a gig buddy with Chelsea and for the fun and memories that we have created over the past three years. Not only have I formed a great connection with Chelsea as her buddy, but with the wider Gig Buddies community as well. Every event has felt extremely inclusive, warm and inviting and I always walk away with a big smile on my face and a feeling of anticipation for the next event.

Come see what it’s all about!

Having 151 buddies currently matched up means we have another 150 stories to tell! A huge thank you to Megan for being the first to appear in our ‘volunteer vault’.

We hope Megan’s words resonate with our existing volunteers - and with those who are also thinking about signing up.

Matthew, Carol, Tony, Bec, Chelsea, Xena and Aylin

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