Volunteering is a way of life for Charlotte Mullens, who says giving back to the community gives her the drive to succeed.
A regular volunteer for SSI’s Community Engagement program, Charlotte has helped to mentor young refugees, support young mothers to learn English, and she is a regular supporter of SSI’s Community Kitchen events.
Charlotte also has a strong background volunteering in the Philippines where she helped to educate school children about tree planting and the environment.
But like many things in life, Charlotte’s volunteering experience was far from linear.
With an extensive background in volunteering during her school years, Charlotte found herself working in the financial services and superannuation industries after moving to Australia – a career that she enjoyed for three decades.
Volunteering became less of a priority for Charlotte while juggling a demanding career and supporting a family. But when her work situation changed last year and she found herself searching for meaning in her daily life, Charlotte was quick to rekindle her affinity with voluntary work, joining SSI’s volunteer program in March, 2015.
Charlotte dedicated much of her time to helping refugees and asylum seekers rebuild their lives in Australia, and became a regular supporter of SSI’s Community Engagement program.
“I have had so many blessings in life and I want to share my happiness with others,” she said. “I cannot begin to imagine what people from refugee backgrounds have experienced, but empathising with them and supporting them is such a simple way of giving back.”
While Charlotte was not expecting the dramatic shift from corporate to community life last year, the transition has come easily for her, which she attributes to her passion for helping others.
“I always try to identify where the needs are and then work towards a solution, and volunteering for SSI was such a logical solution,” she said. “I love working alongside such inspiring people and helping them with such simple solutions.”
Volunteering at Playtime has been a highlight for Charlotte, who helps young mothers to learn English in a relaxed environment.
“One of my fondest memories is helping the mothers to crotchet and finger knit. They really loved it and I realised that sharing such simple things really does make a difference,” Charlotte said. “They also learn English and all of us go home having learned something new. I love it.”
Charlotte is now completing a Diploma of Community Service Work to start a new career in community engagement. She is also volunteering her time to support people with schizophrenia.
“I love the challenge of volunteering and I love giving more than people expect. It makes me smile,” Charlotte said.
To find out more about SSI volunteer opportunities, visit the SSI website.