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An introduction to volunteering with us

A life lived with friendship, is a life fully lived.

It’s great that you are interested in volunteering - more than 200 people like you volunteer with us every year and find the experience of helping a family and developing a relationship with a child with a disability rich and rewarding.

In just a couple of minutes, you’ll find out a bit about Extended Families and the services we provide, plus what it’s like to be a volunteer.

To navigate through the presentation, click on each slide number (there are two in this section) and then click 'next chapter' to move to the next section.


Extended Families is an organisation committed to child safety.

Why volunteer?

You’ll also have some of your questions answered, such as:

  • Who volunteers with us?
  • What will you be doing?
  • What are the families and kids like?
  • What are the requirements for volunteers?
  • Is this for me?

What's it like?

CLICK play to listen to current volunteer Laura tell you what it's like.

About Extended Families

Extended Families supports more than 440 families through our programs, with the help of volunteers and a team of 20 staff across Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.

We believe that having joy in your life and being a part of your community is important.

Through the gift of friendship, you’d be providing companionship and practical support in the day-to-day lives of families with a child or young person with a disability aged between 0 – 18 years of age.

In the future, with the introduction of the National Disability Services, we’ll be extending this to up to 30 years old.

What do our volunteers do?

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Volunteers visit a child at their home and can help them take part in activities in the community

Your regular visits with the child, young person or family may include:

  • Reading stories and playing games
  • Walks or a visit to a favourite café
  • Local community events
  • Helping a child access leisure or recreational activities such as a sporting club, dance class etc
  • Assisting parents with medical appointments
  • Social events, Fun Days or Play Groups

There’s also the opportunity to support or lead group activities, including social events, ‘Come and Try’ activities, Friendship Groups or Play Groups.

Who are the children and families?

Just as you would find in any community our families come from many backgrounds and a variety of social, cultural and economic circumstances, but all are in need of a bit of extra support. 

Likewise, the children in the program have a range of disabilities, from autism spectrum disorder, developmental delay or acquired brain injury, through to intellectual, physical and neurological disabilities.

Who volunteers?

Our volunteers enjoy spending time with children and want to make a difference in the lives of those with special needs and their families.

You may have other reasons – looking for some practical experience to back up your study or profession, you might be a new-comer who wants to be more involved in your local community, or maybe you have a bit of spare time and just want to help however you can.

We welcome volunteers 18 years and older from all cultural backgrounds!

In some areas we also welcome ‘peer volunteers’ who are 16 to 17 years to provide peer support and friendship as part of a small group.


Why volunteer?

You can make a huge difference to the family with a child with a disability, but there are plenty of benefits for you too.

You’ll get to:

  • Feel a sense of purpose and satisfaction through helping people
  • Meet families and share experiences
  • Make long lasting relationships
  • Develop your skills and take advantage of training opportunities
  • Build life experience and personal qualities

Requirements

OK, so you’ll need to be able to give us a 12 month commitment (from the time you are matched to a family or child) of about 2-4 hours weekly, fortnightly or sometimes each month, be reliable, and have good communication skills.

You should also expect some travel – up to 30 minutes if you are driving, or an hour by public transport.

Health and safety as well as child safety are important parts of everything we do. You’ll undergo an assessment, which includes both a police check and ‘working with children’ check, and our process also involves character reference checks, a health assessment, and a one- on-one interview.

So once you’ve completed the e-learning course (that’s the next step!), your accreditation process begins. As a part of this you'll be provided with comprehensive training and ongoing support from our experienced Volunteer Coordinators.

The accreditation and matching process takes between 4-8 weeks.

Support from us

We’ll provide you with ongoing support like additional information and training. Your regional coordinator will work closely with both you and the family to make sure the match is suitable and that you have everything you need.

Matches are reviewed regularly, and you’ll be given support at all stages, particularly at the beginning of your match.

You might become ‘instant friends’, but it may take 12-months or so for your relationship to really blossom.

Once it does, it can last a lifetime!

What's it like?

CLICK play for some volunteer's thoughts on their experiences.

Summary

Extended Families Australia supports diverse families and is seeking the same in our volunteers. No matter who you are or where you’re from, we would love to hear from you!

By volunteering, you'll not only be supporting a family while a child with a disability learns social skills, builds confidence and participates in community activities, you'll be helping create positive change.

Keen to help out? Still have lots of questions?

Great! Click slide 2 below for the last slide and some more information.

Introduction complete

The next step is to complete a special online learning information course that will go into more detail about us, volunteering, the children and families, and the process to get you there.

So let’s get started!

CLICK here to complete a simple form and we will enrol you in the course and send you the link and log-in via email.

It’s that easy!

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Living with a disability can be difficult. We support people aged 0-30 and their families in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula to build friendships and connect with their community.

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Contact Us

Suite 1, 95 Bell Street
P.O.Box 275
Coburg Victoria 3058