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National Volunteer Week

May 21, 2024

In honour of National Volunteer Week, Brittany and Jade, our volunteer coordinators, recently met with a dedicated group of volunteers from Bribie Island, marking a special occasion for celebration and reflection.

The journey began in 2000 when Dorothy O’Brien, having a vision condition herself, underwent white cane training provided by Guide Dogs Queensland.

This experience ignited her passion for aiding others who are living with low vision or blindness. Alongside her husband Fred, they commenced their volunteering journey after witnessing the impact firsthand at a Guide Dogs merchandise stall in Morayfield.

Motivated by their encounter, they established their own stall on Bribie Island in 2003, later enlisting members from the Vision Support Group, which they had established three years earlier, to join their cause.

Dorothy recalls, “We aimed to do more than just raise funds; we aimed to engage others in our mission. That’s why we began recruiting members from the Vision Support Group to join us.” Together, this group has cultivated an enduring legacy of service and community support.

Fay Gourlay, Karen Carter, and Leigh Daunt are among those who have dedicated 20 years of service to this cause, each offering their unique contributions.

Fay Gourlay shared a touching moment she experienced at the stall earlier in the year, recounting a heartwarming story of a gentleman who purchased two small plush Guide Dog puppy toys from their stall and donated them back to be given to children who visited later that day.

Reflecting on this, Fay remarked, “The people of Bribie Island are incredibly generous; that’s why we cherish what we do.” Such instances exemplify the spirit of generosity and kindness that characterises the work of Guide Dog volunteers.

Karen Carter added, “Being part of this group has been an honour. It’s not just about the tasks we perform; it’s about the bonds we’ve forged and the lives we’ve impacted along the way.”

Leigh Daunt, reflecting on her volunteering experience, shared, “I may not excel in handling finances, but I’ve memorized the price list, which proves helpful when customers inquire about the cost of items.”

Her commitment embodies Guide Dogs’ inclusive ethos, underscoring that every individual, regardless of their abilities, possesses something valuable to offer.

This sentiment aligns with the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week: “Something for Everyone,” spotlighting the enriching diversity volunteers bring to the table. Each person, like Leigh, contributes uniquely, fostering a collaborative endeavor toward meaningful change.

Chris Roberts, Secretary-Treasurer of the Vision Support Group, summed up her 19-year journey as “fulfilling,” emphasizing how volunteering with Guide Dogs has imbued her with a sense of purpose and contentment.

These narratives not only inspire but also serve as poignant reminders of the profound impact volunteers can have when they unite with dedication, compassion, and a shared vision of building a better world for all.



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