Volunteering can be a fun, sociable and rewarding experience. It also provides important help to other people. Many different kinds of organisations use volunteers. One of my volunteer roles is working as a mentor with people with mental illness. The program is called Connecting Mentors and Mates and is organised by Doutta Galla Community Health. As a mentor, I am paired with participants who want to work on improving their connections in the community. My role is to support this person in working towards a goal of their choice.
Daryl Walker lived with liver disease for 19 years. In 2010 he was told he needed a new liver and was placed on the transplant waiting list. After a number of false starts, he had a liver transplant in 2011. He is one of an increasing number of recipients of organ donations. But unfortunately, only about one per cent of organs of registered donors are suitable for transplant. So many more people need to register to donate their organs.
Sending greetings at Christmas has been around for a long time. It’s an opportunity to keep in touch and it’s a tradition I love. The first message at Christmas was noted over 400 years ago. Then some 130 years later the first Christmas card was developed. In the late 1800s the first line of American Christmas cards were produced. Today there are millions of Christmas cards sent each year. Traditional methods of sending greetings are also now going digital. But I still prefer the old ways of sending cards.
We all have a lot of stuff. Now Christmas is coming. Most of us will be giving and receiving even more stuff. But we don’t have to. We can think differently about giving gifts this Christmas. We can donate to charities. We can also offer our skills and abilities as gifts to others. One skill I have is baking gingerbread. I make it every Christmas for family and friends. I’m sharing the recipe here as a gift to you. I hope you find ways to share your gifts this Christmas.
This year Dave Jacka became the first person with quadriplegia to fly solo around Australia. The journey had good and bad moments. Dave dreamed of flying a plane when he was a boy. But when he was 20 years old he had a motorbike accident. After the accident he had only six per cent body function. He still wanted to learn how to fly and it was hard to find somebody to teach him. But years later he learned how to fly. He has a light aircraft with special equipment. Dave has won a Pride of Australia medal for his solo flight around Australia.