Strengthening communities
and creating connections

JNC 45 Years 45 Stories – Part 2

November 15, 2019

To celebrate 45 years of working in our communities, we’re sharing the stories of 45 of the few thousand people we work with each year. Read about the difference The JNC has made for them. Here’s Story 42 in our JNC 45 Years 45 Stories series to celebrate the work of The JNC.

Drew’s story – 42

Drew started her placement as a Social Work student with The JNC in 2017, and worked as a JNC employee from December 2017 to July 2018

” I’m lucky to have been in the unique position to both live and work in the same area, so doing my social work placement at the JNC meant I could learn from so many different people with expert skills while also serving the community that love and raised me. The JNC works on a non-judgemental, strengths based approach and I was so proud to be at a service that treats everyone with dignity and respect, and as the experts in their own lives. I will always be grateful and acknowledge how lucky I was to be placed at the JNC, to be taught by people who care deeply about their work and want nothing for me but to be the best I can be, by investing in myself and my potential. Since moving on from the JNC in a professional capacity, I’ve stayed in contact.

The staff are always happy for me to drop in with questions or concerns or just to have a chat. I’ve referred other community members to JNC, whether it be for casework or for general social support and relaxing classes to help alleviate isolation or boredom because I know the staff work in a way where they treat clients with best practice and care. They are invested in our community, supporting and teaching individuals like me, providing support in times of crisis, or just providing a space where people can go for a familiar face, information and links to other support services.”

Read stories 24 to 41 below. And you can also read stories 1-23 on this page

Yuk Man Lai’s story – 41

Janet’s story – 40

“Over 7 years I have been using one on one individual social support with The JNC.

My children live far away from me. I am relying on the service to get myself out as much as possible.

I really wish I could thank the service founder in person.

Thank you for taking care of me!” Yuk Man Lai, JNC 45 #41

Janet has been a JNC Board member for more than 15 years.

“Being a board member of the JNC has enabled me to learn more about the problems facing our local community and the people it affects. I’m proud to volunteer with a community organisation whose vision is to enhance the wellbeing and resilience of individuals and communities. My role gives me the opportunity to use my business training in a meaningful and fulfilling way and to work with other highly skilled and enthusiastic volunteer board members and management team.

As a team we work together to ensure the JNC remains sustainable and can continue to provide a range of high quality essential services to meet the needs of our local community and fill the gaps that government agencies can’t provide.” – Janet, JNC 45 #40

Mary’s story – 39

Mary has been The JNC’s volunteer Tai Chi group facilitator for three years.

She says: “Volunteering has given me fulfilment in my life.

I find joy and peace in uplifting people’s lives by instructing them in Tai Chi.

I also love hearing my class members’ life stories.”

Paul’s story – 38

Paul with the child of his former neighbours, whom he still sees daily.

Paul says, “My confidence has improved. I enjoy individual social support, the exercise group and small-group outings with multicultural clients.

Social support achieves the organisation’s aims and objectives, and helps improve my own health and outlook.

I particularly enjoy interacting with the multicultural community.”

Jaffa’s story – 37

“My underlying reasons for volunteering in teaching English are somewhat personal. This is because I know exactly how it feels to be in a new and foreign country and have significant language barriers. I was alienated and excluded when I arrived to Australia at 11 years old from Europe in the 1960s with no English whatsoever combined with cultural divides.

This is why teaching English is not only a way I can literally give back to the community but more importantly, help individuals to overcome the similar language and cultural barriers I was once all too familiar with.

Over the last 20 years I have developed close connections with my students as we have shared life stories with laughter and tears. But most of all it is the respect, empathy, compassion and fun that I have shared with my students which are my greatest reward.” (Jaffa, JNC 45 #37)

Freda’s story – 36

Freda has accessed The JNC’s Individual Social Support service for the part year and a half.

She says, “The JNC worker cares about me. She assists with carrying and shopping tasks that help me to maintain my shopping independence.

We go for coffee. We talk and we compare stories; we have a friendship.”

Faith’s story – 35

photo of Faith, story 35 in the 45 years 45 stories series

Faith attended the JNC’s Multi-cultural Playgroup, and then the Transition to School Playgroup until she started going to school. Faith’s mum tells this story, which she calls “My Joyful Story”.

She says, “I was brought up to be very quiet, but in the playgroups Faith discovered the joy and fun of singing and movement. She loved it. Now at school she’s in a choir and dancing group.

She was given the opportunity to learn, and she saw the joy of it. She learnt there’s a time to have fun, a time to listen, to be quiet in a place like school or the library. And that problems are temporary: life can be joyful.

She learnt something very important – to be sociable. She discovered she’s acknowledged as a person and respected as an individual.

So she can speak up and bounce back. To go to school is scary, but for her it’s been a joy.” (Faith’s mum, JNC 45 #35)

Andrew’s story – 34

Andrew volunteers with The JNC in two areas. He accompanies people on the social bus outings run by our Aged Services team, and assists people to grow confident with using their digital devices – mobile phone, tablet, computer, laptop.

He says, “Volunteering with The JNC has allowed me to give back to the community, which is a really rewarding feeling. Through the ‘Let’s Get Digital’ program I’m able to see people grow through exploring and experimenting with technology in a safe and non-judgmental environment, building their confidence and knowledge.

Through the Aged Services social bus outings I have been able to see wonderful friendships which have developed and grown due to
this and other social experiences
offered by The JNC.” (Andrew, JNC 45 #34)

Keren’s story – 33

This year Keren’s family joined The JNC’s Transition to School Playgroup, which supports children who are starting school the next year and their families.

Keren says, “It has been wonderful to attend a specialised play-group where my 4 year old is stimulated and has special attention by the excellent educators, and her younger siblings are also able to play and have fun. It is a big relief to find an activity that suits all the kids’ needs.”

Joyce’s story – 32

Joyce has been going on The JNC’s Social Bus Outings, in her words, “for many years”. These outings are one of the social support programs run by The JNC’s Aged Services. Joyce says, “The JNC’s made a difference because you can get to places you can’t get to on your own.

You meet different people and have conversations with them.

It gets me out and I can see others and enjoy the day with them.” (Joyce, JNC 45 #32)

Anne’s story – 31

Check for updates on the JNC 45 Years 45 Stories series on this site, on our Facebook page and on Instagram.

Anne has been attending The JNC’s knitting group since mid-2018.

“The knitting group is both an enjoyable activity and gives the chance to help others in need of blankets: capable volunteers knit squares and sew them together for Wrapped With Love. The group is well run, the atmosphere is friendly and it is good to volunteer for a worthy cause in the company of others.” (Anne, JNC 45 #31)

Sharyn’s story – 30

photo of Sharyn, story 30 in the JNC 45 years 45 stories series

Sharyn has been a participant in The JNC’s Gathering the Dots program, and in the Creative Writing group.

“The JNC has gotten
me out and about and
reduced my isolation. It
has enabled me to interact
with other like-minded
adults. It has helped me
socially. I was so isolated,
because I cared for my
mum and didn’t socialise,
and being a part of
these groups has helped
immensely.” (Sharyn, JNC 45 #30)

Marlina’s story – 29

Marlina, Story 29 in the JNC 45 years 45 stories series

Marlina attends The JNC’s English Conversation Class in Bondi Junction. Four classes are held weekly, two in Bondi Junction and two in Maroubra.

“The JNC is a not for profit organisation that provides a diverse range of community services. I get a lot of knowledge which I don’t get from other places.” (Marlina, JNC 45 #29)

Kylie’s story – 28

photo of Kylie, Story 27 int he JNC 45 years 45 stories series

“I got to offer ideas and help with events and activities in my local area. We submitted a ‘My Community Project’ grant to promote the community room.

We got some renovations completed, and now the whole community of South Coogee can come together and build connections together.” (Kylie, JNC 45 #28)

Ilda’s story – 27

photo of Ilda, Story 27 in the JNC 45 years 45 stories series

Since 2005 Ilda has volunteered in many areas of Aged Services, including exercise classes, social group outings, shopping support, and the monthly birthday celebration group in Glebe.

Ilda says, “Volunteering gives me the opportunity to be involved with clients’ needs and to meet new volunteers, and brings me happiness that I am able to help.”

Bruce’s story – 26

Bruce goes out a couple of times a week with The JNC, accessing social support through our Aged Services. He says, “I am 92 years old and have lived alone in my home for several years. I no longer have friends visiting me, and spend my time reading or watching television.

I very much enjoy being picked up at my home and taken for lunch at various social clubs in Sydney. On these trips I meet other elderly people. I am also picked up and taken grocery shopping.”

Joanne’s story – 25

Joanne has been a Tax Help volunteer with The JNC for 20 years. She says, “Being a Tax Help volunteer at JNC lets me use my skills and training to help clients meet their tax obligations. It keeps my brain active and keeps me in touch with people from many different backgrounds and walks of life. It gives me great satisfaction when a client says, ‘That’s a weight off my mind!’ or tells me how they’re going to spend their refund.
Many clients are like old friends now and I enjoy catching up with them. The JNC staff make me feel very welcome. I really enjoy doing Tax Help at JNC each week for three months every year!”

Sheila’s story – 24

photo of Sheila, Story 24 of The JNC 45 years 45 stories series series

Sheila has been accessing The JNC’s social support service for older people for more than ten years. Sheila says, “It’s good we have people like The JNC. They’ve been getting me out and about since 2008. Without them I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I’ve been doing. I’m really happy.”

This photo shows Sheila receiving a raffle prize at one of The JNC’s social events for older people.

About JNC 45 years 45 stories

THE JNC 45 years ago was begun as a great idea, with humble beginnings, by a group of very dedicated and feisty women volunteers who were concerned about poverty, loneliness and disadvantage and the shortage of welfare services in the Randwick LGA.

Joined by the Methodist Church in Maroubra and by Randwick Council in 1974, these volunteers started CHARM, the Community Help Association of Randwick Municipality, which has been providing information, support, social inclusion activities and locally driven services since then.

Over the years CHARM, which became RICC (Randwick Information and Community Centre) and then The JNC, moved to different homes, and provided different services, all targeted at vulnerable people in our community, and responding to different needs in the community.  In more recent years our work has been taken into other local communities across Eastern Sydney.

The organisation grew over the decades and attracted funding for a wide range of services, but kept its focus on local services.  A recurring theme throughout the these four and half decades is the role volunteers have played and still play, in our social justice based work and our increasingly person directed services.

We ask ourselves ‘what difference have we made?’ and it is rewarding when we reflect on that and hear people’s stories. Over 45 years, the tireless work of volunteers, the inspiration of those who have been on our Board, the passionate staff who have come with inspiration and ideas have brought us to where we are today, and to be better at being able to demonstrate the differences we made in people’s lives.

Please check this site every week for another story in our JNC 45 Years 45 stories series. And you can read the first 23 on this page.

– Janet Green, General Manager, The Junction Neighbourhood Centre