Driven by a shared desire to help the local community, the volunteers began calling older Australians who were living alone or in more isolated parts of the community to let them know that they are being thought of during this difficult time.
Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Chaseling is a volunteer at her local federal MP’s office as part of her Year 12 studies and spends a couple of hours after school each week doing her best to ensure the wellbeing of others in her community.
Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman, has branded Chaseling and her fellow volunteers an unofficial youth advisory group in the local area, praising them for their ability to come together in the name of compassion, despite different political standings.
The group of teens were provided with a list of welfare-related questions, but Chaseling reported that many of the people she spoke with were simply thankful for the human contact and relished the opportunity to have a chat.
“Even if people didn’t want to talk about their gardening, they really appreciated the fact we were checking in and were happy to answer those questions.
“One lady did mention that she was very appreciative of the fact that she did have someone to call her, and she was talking about how she was feeling quite lonely and how it was really nice just to talk to someone.”
Chaseling hopes that this initiative may inspire others to get more involved in helping their local community.
Despite the group’s association with local federal MP Susan Templeman, none of the questions being asked to residents involved politics.
According to Templeman, the sole purpose of these calls was to gauge the wellbeing of residents.
“We make it really clear to this group of young people that they’re volunteering for me, and they need to identify themselves as such.”
Templeman added, “I’m really proud of the young people. I can’t wait to eventually get them together and hear their stories.”