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01-02-17
Very Special Kids needs new volunteers. Pic of (L-R) Yasmin Akel (mum) with Jana (3) who has Leigh’s Disease, Malak (5), and volunteer Emily Webster. Photo by Damjan Janevski.
10
Feb 2017

Volunteers needed in the north-west to help local families in need

Very Special Kids helps children with life-threatening conditions and we’re currently looking for volunteers in the north-west region to help us support children and their families that live in the area.

Three year old Jana Hammoudeh has Leigh’s Disease, a rare genetic disorder that means she’s unable to walk, talk and is fed through a peg. Just over two years ago, Jana’s family joined Very Special Kids to access a range of support services including being paired with a volunteer named Emily.

“Emily provides special and really helpful support for our family, particularly our older daughter Malak (5-years-old)” says mother Yasmin Akel.

“Because of Yana’s complex medical needs, I often don’t have time to do things like take Malak swimming or to the playground, but Emily gives her this time. They play hairdressers and just have fun together, Malak loves the attention and feels like she fits in.”

Emily (26-years-old) visits the Hammoudeh family every fortnight and says her volunteer role is rewarding.

“The family have a lot going on so it’s great to give them extra support and help where I can. Malak’s always waiting by the door for me which is nice and shows I’m needed. It’s good for Malak to be given that one on one attention, to have a break and have fun. It’s very rewarding knowing that I’m helping.”

Read the Hammoudeh family story in the Wyndham Star Weekly.

How to become a volunteer

Very Special Kids trained Family Services Volunteers help families with the practical and emotional demands of caring for a child with a life-threatening condition, and can also support families through bereavement of their lost child.

Every volunteer completes a 27 hour training program to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to support families who have a child with a life-threatening condition. The training includes topics such as communication and listening skills, loss and grief and ways of working with children. More info on Volunteering here.

Very Special Kids Family Support Practitioner, Puchi Dunne-Stern says “We urgently need volunteers in the north-west region who can help families like the Hammoudeh’s. When a child has a life-threatening condition, it impacts on the whole family. Care for these children can be physically and emotionally exhausting so it’s extremely important they get the support they need.”

There are currently 21 families in the north-west region in need of volunteer support.

If you are interested in volunteering you will need to attend a volunteer information session:

  • Monday 13 February (Werribee) Wyndham Park Community Centre, 55-57 Kookaburra Ave
  • Wednesday 15 February (Craigieburn) Craigieburn Global Learning Centre, 75-95 Central Park Ave
  • Thursday  16 March (Malvern) 321 Glenferrie Rd Malvern

Please email mail@vsk.org.au to book your session attendance. State your name, contact number, desired info session date and how did you hear about us. 


Categories: Family News, Very Special Kids News, Volunteer News
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