In 2009, after retiring from 30 years of High School teaching, Anne found herself searching for volunteering opportunities online. She came across an ad for a Creative Writing Teacher at the Mission Australia Centre (MAC) and thought it sounded like a perfect fit. Anne, who has a love of creative writing and literacy teaching, applied for the position and was soon interviewed and offered the role. On a Tuesday evening in May of 2009, Anne began teaching a weekly writing class. It soon became apparent that there was a need for greater literacy support for particular individuals, and in response Anne put her hand up to offer additional one-on-one literacy support sessions on a Tuesday afternoon.

In reflecting on her many years of volunteering with Mission Australia, Anne says that she enjoys the variety of people she gets to meet.

“It consistently reminds me of all the different faces of Sydney,” Anne said. Anne enjoys the unpredictability of the writing class, never knowing who will come each week but embracing that each person comes with a different story.

“Often, it’s important for people to tell their story as these clients have had very interesting lives,” Anne said. “Writing their story, for some of them, can help them to make sense of it”.

Anne believes she gets as much out of volunteering as the clients get out of her coming along. She finds it so rewarding to see them grow in confidence and improve their literacy. Each week, she can’t wait to come to the MAC – feeling warmly welcomed and supported by the staff.

“I’m made to feel like I belong,” Anne said. It’s why she keeps coming back year after year.

Anne says she will continue volunteering because she loves learning through people. Coming to the MAC each week allows her to meet with so many different and interesting people.

In 2017, Anne worked with 56 individuals by offering 126 one to one literacy sessions and 45 writing classes. She is one of the many wonderful volunteers that support the MAC, and is an integral part of the work we do to support those who are homeless and marginalised.

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