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Excerpts from Volunteers' Diaries

2 – 3 hr visits

Volunteer 1

Looked after Toby while Mum did jobs around the house.  He loves me to read and we looked at lots of books.

Played with Toby while Mum did jobs. Chatted with Mum.

Mum likes me to occupy her child so she can get other things done herself. Read to Toby and watched playschool.    

Phoned Mum today for a long chat.

Volunteer 2

We attacked the pile of laundry and picked Harry up from school.  Grant drove us all so Sally and the Bub could see the Doctor.  We got new school shoes for Harry and sang songs all the way home.

Another lovely Thursday.  We went on a library book hunt.  No luck, but we did lots of tidying up from the weekend away.  Timothy is trying hard to be a good baby today.

Sally was very down today.  She said she has had a terrible week.  She ended up in tears.  We took all the kids down to the park in the sunshine.    She just had to get out of the house.

Sally was troubled today.  She wants to go back to work but can’t see it happening anytime soon.  Fridays Harry is at school and Paula and Lesley have day care.  She only has Bub Timothy at home.  I told her to try and make it a “Sally day”.  She thought that was a good idea.  We tidied the house and when I left the house was tidy and Sally smiling.

I helped Sally to do her shopping and unload it when we got home.  We washed, hung, folded and put away washing.  

Phone call - I rang Sally today. She sounded happier.  Her Godmother was visiting and she said she is always better when she has company.

Sally’s in-laws were there today, so she went out for the day with a friend and the older children.  She had a nice day.  Lesley and Paula were at pre-school.  Her in-laws and I got to play with the baby.  Sally is much better than last week.  Her family is being very supportive.

Sally was visiting a friend.  Her husband was home with Lesley and the baby.  We chatted about Sally and how she had applied for a job (part time).  

Volunteer 3

We made Olympic Torches and flats with the children today.  Talked about the Olympics.  Helped feed the girls and put them to bed.

Read stories about the Olympics to the girls.  Played with them outside.  Coffee and chat with Mum.  Helped her with some sewing.  Helped feed the girls and put them to bed.

Volunteer 4

Took Sylvia shopping and helped put groceries away when we got home.  Coffee and chat.

Read nursery rhymes Christine, then watched play school.  We played in the sand.

Sylvia had to take Christine to Sydney to a specialist.  We had a long phone chat the night before.

Miscellaneous quotes:

"I was feeling lonely without any support and not confident to be involved in any community activity. I was feeling down.  Home-Start let me feel that I was not all alone; they encouraged me to participate in a lot of activities.  They provided me with a lot of information about raising my children and controlling stress."

"I feel Home-Start kept me out of depression.  The support and knowing that someone cares keeps you going and gives you hope that you otherwise would not have."

"We have gained a family that is always there when we require support."

"We have more confidence and less stressed."

"We have benefited from having regular contact with someone who is non-judgemental.  The contact and friendship has helped to reduce our sense of isolation."

"Just having someone listen to you is great."

"I was always made to feel like I was part of a family; the Home-Start family. It was nice to belong to a non-judgemental group."

"Every step of the way I had a lot of support and offers of support."

"Our children know that someone cares for them and comes to visit them no matter what."

"Volunteers are able to bridge the gap between the professionals and the family.  It is a team approach provided by the Home-Start Program which is its hallmark - its point of difference from many other programs."  (Feedback from a volunteer)

When we were experiencing hard times as a family, we got the support we needed from our volunteer."

"She (volunteer) has become our family friend."

"She (volunteer) is like a grandmother to my children and like a mum and a very dear friend to me."

"She (volunteer) is like the mother I wish I had."

"Our volunteer has helped us become calmer and offers us impartial advice.  Having him there is better than two parents constantly arguing."

"My volunteer gives me a lot of encouragement which is just what I need.  It helps hearing someone tell you that you are doing a good job and not judge you."

"My volunteer helped me get my sanity back. She helped with the children, spoke to me about her experiences and gave me respite.  Having a person to see every week was always something to look forward to."

"Someone comes to see me regularly which makes me keep going and I look forward to it."

"What you (Home-Start Program) are doing is saving families.  Without your help our lives would be a struggle."

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