Volunteer of the Month- Mar 2017: Karen


1. What is your background (profession/ workplace/ training)?
Brand new (!) medical intern with a background in informal education.

2. What inspired you to become a Water Well volunteer?
I heard about Water Well through some friends who were volunteering and absolutely loved it. Health literacy and health education is something many people have very little access to, and this is even more pertinent in refugee, asylum seeker and immigrant populations. I was incredibly privileged to complete medical school and have insight and knowledge regarding health, and how to seek healthcare, and I think it's important to be able to pass on at least some of that knowledge to those who may find difficulty seeking the healthcare. I was also lucky to have a flexible rotation with a lot of leave and time to run sessions, which isn't often the case in medicine! Also, I love any health education that ditches powerpoints and medical jargon and makes health literacy accessible!

3. Please share one of your favourite Water Well sessions or moments.
At one session we were discussing the importance of exercise, and one (quite elderly!) lady jumps up and begins to do a squat-arm raise exercise and everyone erupted into applause and began copying her. Other participants then began to demonstrate the exercises they do, and the room had the most terrific energy. It was fabulous! Actually, I ended up going straight to gym after that session, she was so inspiring!

4. What tips do you have for new volunteers?
I got over excited and thoroughly planned activities, discussions etc. But be prepared that things will rarely go to plan (if ever!) and it's important to outline what your 2-3 key messages are, keep it simple and be flexible. Also, remember to have heaps of time for Q+A - what you think participants will want to know doesn't always align with the questions they will ask, so leave time for questions and interaction! And importantly, enjoy it!