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whatever their age

Enliven mother and daughter volunteer team

Enliven mother and daughter volunteer team

Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteers Jeanie Anderson and mother Brigid Kean
Kilmarnock Heights Home volunteers Jeanie Anderson and mother Brigid Kean.

At 18-months-old, Jeanie Anderson is Kilmarnock Heights Home’s youngest volunteer.

Jeanie and her mother Brigid Kean started volunteering at Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home in Berhampore a year ago to give back to the community and do something different.

“I was wondering what type of volunteer work there could possibly be where you could bring a baby with you, but I saw that Kilmarnock Heights Home was looking for parents to bring in their children – it was perfect.”

Brigid says volunteering at Kilmarnock Heights gives Jeanie the chance to build relationships with people she wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet.

“Living a good life is about connecting with people around you and being part of a community, and Jeanie’s grandparents live out of town so it’s so good for her to come here and have that contact,” Brigid says.

“It is really good for me too, because it’s a good opportunity to get out of the house.”

Brigid says the relationships they have formed with the home’s staff and residents are what makes volunteering at Kilmarnock Heights Home so rewarding.

“We’ve built up relationships with the residents and many have watched Jeanie growing up. She wasn’t even crawling when we first came in and now she’s walking. We’ve become part of the family.”

While Brigid and Jeanie visit when they can, Brigid says Enliven makes sure she doesn’t feel pressured to visit every week.

“They said not to worry about how often we come, just to see what we could do and not to feel guilty if we can’t make it for any reason. You don’t feel obliged to come every week and it’s really relaxed.”

Brigid says parents at home with their children should consider volunteering at Kilmarnock Heights Home.

“You’ll instantly feel at home here. The staff and residents are just lovely and your kids will love the attention they get. You get just as much out of it as anyone one here does.”

Recreation officer Annelize Steyn says it’s great to have volunteers of all ages, including young people or parents and their children.

“There’s a natural attraction between elderly and children. They don’t have to say a word and they’re comfortable in each others company. The residents light up when children are in the room.”

Annelize says Kilmarnock Heights Home is looking for volunteers that can spare any amount of time to help with the activity programme, share their hobbies or interests, play music, visit with children, or simply spend one-on-one time with the residents.

To find out more about Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home, located at 20 Morton Street in Berhampore click here. To express your interest in volunteering, call 0508 TO HELP or email support@psc.org.nz.

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