Volunteer of the Month- Jan 2015: Tim

jan 2015 volunteer of month- tim

1. What is your background?

I grew up in Sydney and studied post-graduate medicine at Notre Dame after finishing my undergraduate degree in psychology (and taking a couple of years off along the way). I just completed my internship year at the Austin Hospital and I'll stick around there for my HMO2 year before probably heading off overseas and eventually doing GP training.

2. What inspired you to become a Water Well volunteer?

I'm interested in international health and since graduating I'd wanted to get involved in an area of volunteering which allowed me to use some of the skills I'd learned through doing medicine. I got on board with the Water Well Project towards the end of internship after seeing a notice through my HMO society. The idea of helping to educate refugee groups seemed like an excellent opportunity to actually do something useful with my basic medical knowledge and also to gain experience interacting with underprivileged groups in intimate settings.

3. Please share one of your favourite Water Well sessions or moments.

I've helped to facilitate 2 sessions so far and they've both been great in different ways. My favourite session was the second one I was part of which was talking about mental health with a group of young Tamil men. For one activity I presented a few made-up scenarios about depression and anxiety using caricatures of famous Australian and Sri Lankan cricket players as my examples. The group quite obviously enjoyed this and participated really well and they remained very enthusiastic and willing to engage throughout the entire session. I found it really gratifying to see the positive effect of making an effort to connect with the group through a common interest even as simple as cricket!

4. What tips do you have for new volunteers?

First, don't be afraid to sign yourself up for a session!

Second, try to be familiar with the topic and the group. Everybody prepares for the sessions differently but I quite like to spend a bit of time reading about the topic I'll be presenting and thinking about how I can make it relevant to the particular group I'll be presenting to. The templates that are provided are a great starting point but there are heaps of other useful resources around if you look for them.