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Contribution of ACSS volunteers acknowledged

Aboriginal Catholic Social Services members receive their Certificate in Volunteering
Members of Aboriginal Catholic Social Services being presented with their Certificate in Volunteering. Photo: Virginia Knight

By Virginia Knight, Catholic Outlook, June 2010

On Friday 14 May 2010, eight members of the Catholic community in Parramatta received their Certificate 1 in Volunteering in a ceremony in the Jubilee Room at Parliament House in Sydney.

The women from the Aboriginal Catholic Social Services team (a division of Centacare Catholic Social Services) were presented with their certificates by the Minister for Volunteering, Peter Primrose MLC.

Janice Brown, Daisy Barker, Jenny Ebsworth, Margaret Farrell, Janice Kennedy, Sharon Mumbler, Rhonda Randall and Neroli Stratti completed the volunteering course during the past 12 months.

Sr Frances Flemming RSJ said there had been a real commitment to the process from all the women involved.

Course participant Margaret Farrell said it had been challenging, “but it was good to participate and we learnt many skills through the process.”

The Certificate in Volunteering, awarded for the first time, aims to formally recognise the efforts of the countless numbers of volunteers in our community, many of whom have amassed considerable skills and experience, yet have no official documentation of their achievements.

When announcing the awards, the Minister said that what distinguished a community from an economy were aspects such as the generosity of its volunteers.

There are many people in the community service sector who have experience but no recognition of their efforts. The Minister said this program had developed strategies to assess an individual’s contribution and produce a certificate that attested to their work capabilities.

He said it was fitting that the inaugural certificate had been awarded during this year’s National Volunteer Week (10-16 May).

Sr Naomi Smith RSJ, who accompanied the women to the ceremony, clarified the importance of the certificate, pointing out that on many occasions volunteers are treated as though they do not have any qualifications.

Other course participants commented:

“Often when you are speaking in your community, people may ask, ‘What gives her the right?’ This piece of paper gives us the recognition that we do have the skills when others question our abilities.” Jenny Ebsworth

“I feel very proud to have completed the course and would like to see more people from the Aboriginal community getting involved.” Janice Brown

“It is a good to have formal recognition for the work we have been doing all our lives, in our own community.” Rhonda Randall

The Certificate 1 in Volunteering is conducted through the Centre for Volunteering: School of Volunteer Management, which offers registered training courses for individuals and groups.

For more information:

Ph: 02 9261 3600


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