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A yarn can make all the difference

Volunteering is a way for Sam to forge a career in mental and Indigenous health, but he has gained so much more from it than a boost to his resume.

My name is Sam. I am a proud Wakka Wakka man from Queensland and I am also a Red Cross TeleYarn volunteer caller in Melbourne. I moved to Victoria so I can study psychology at RMIT in Melbourne.

I’m really passionate about this area of study because I’m interested in working in mental health and Indigenous health.

As a TeleYarn Volunteer I call Indigenous people who would really benefit from having a yarn with someone, as they might be living alone and not have a lot of social connections.  The great thing about TeleYarn is that Red Cross works in partnership with Aboriginal Housing Victoria to run it.

I found out about TeleYarn when I was looking around on the Red Cross website. I really wanted to find a volunteering experience that would go towards my degree and any future job prospects. The fact that TeleYarn works with Indigenous Elders and I am an Indigenous person were major factors in taking up this volunteer opportunity with Red Cross.

...loneliness is a big problem for a lot of elderly Indigenous people. It means a lot to the people to have a yarn with the TeleYarn volunteers on a regular basis.

It has been a really rewarding volunteer experience so far. It’s helped me with my interpersonal skills and I’ve heard a lot of great stories from the people I’ve spoken to. I also know that loneliness is a big problem for a lot of elderly Indigenous people. It means a lot to the people to have a yarn with the TeleYarn volunteers on a regular basis.

I’ve also learnt a lot from another TeleYarn volunteer Tanya, she’s been with TeleYarn for a long time. She’s really inviting, helpful and gives me some great information.

It’s been a good experience, I’d recommend it to anyone, particularly for those who want to work with Indigenous people. The opportunity to talk with an Aboriginal person helps you learn a lot about what they are going through.

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