Volunteering Australia’s National Volunteer Week celebrates the efforts of those who have selflessly contributed their time, knowledge, and skills to better their community.
At Till, our One Team, One Family value informs not only the way we treat each other and our approach to business, but importantly, encourages our people to make a greater impact in the world.
Recently, we asked our Till Force about the things that mattered to them and discovered that this value naturally resonated deeply with them, with many of us signalling an interest in volunteering and charity. Recognising this, our People & Talent team set out to launch our new Volunteer Leave Policy – a small first step in supporting our Force to engage with their broader communities.
To celebrate this year’s National Volunteer Week and the launch of our new policy, we shine a spotlight on eight members of our Till Force as they share their inspiring stories – from Surf Life Saving to sports coaching, to first aid and climate justice. We hope these stories serve to encourage you to contribute to your community through the gift of volunteering.
Kate Gallon, Event Operations Volunteer at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
As a valued member of our Sales team, helping others comes naturally to Kate so when it came to volunteering for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, the decision was easy!
Every year in March, Kate puts on her official vest and hits the road as an Event Operations Volunteer for the Mardi Gras Parade, assisting festival-goers and ensuring her fellow volunteers have everything they need to help the festival run smoothly.
The annual festivities are a celebration of the love and diversity that shines through across the LGBTQIA+ community. For Kate, her involvement as a volunteer not only strengthens her connection with the community but has helped her to hone her leadership and problem-solving skills, which she taps into both in her work at Till and in her day-to-day life.
After four consecutive years as a dedicated member of the volunteering team, Kate was awarded the accolade for Excellence in Leadership by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade, a recognition that she will cherish for years to come.
Hayden Waltis, Youth Decide Volunteer at Australian Youth Climate Coalition
Hayden is Till’s very own climate crusader and two months ago, he decided to take his passion for climate justice to the next level by volunteering for the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC). In his role at the AYCC, Hayden works across the ‘Youth Decide’ campaign, advocating for stronger climate action policies in the lead up to the upcoming Australian Federal election.
In his short time with the AYCC, Hayden has developed a keen ability to facilitate engaging, in-depth conversations on issues related to climate change and climate justice, which he considers to be one of the most critical issues facing our society today.
For Hayden, his involvement in the coalition has strengthened his
belief in the power of influence through meaningful dialogue and in the
potential for challenging conversations to impact and empower people to
act on climate issues. And, when it comes to climate justice, every
voice and every action counts.
Steven Papaioannou, Volunteer at St John Ambulance
During the work week, Steven – or Stav as he’s affectionately known – is our Brand and CX Strategy Manager but on two weekends a month, you’ll find him volunteering for St John Ambulance.
Two years ago, after recognising the impact of the critically important work that St John Ambulance sets out to do, Stav decided to dedicate his time and effort into volunteering for the organisation, and he hasn’t looked back.
As a Volunteer First Aider, Stav’s seen everything from sprains and fractures to dehydration and disasters, and never shies away from lending a helping hand – whether with a splint or compression or to support medical professionals in cases of severe injuries.
For Stav, the lessons and experiences gained from volunteering has been invaluable and has helped him forge lifelong friendships and connections with like-minded people keen to give back to their community.
Bianca Matera, Scholar Support Coach at Harding Miller Education Foundation
Everybody can relate to the complexities of being a teenager. The challenges that life sometimes throws your way, are amplified as you navigate through rapid changes and increased responsibilities. For some, being a teenager is harder than for others and external factors, like your family life, can create an even more challenging environment to grow up in.
As someone who has experienced difficulty throughout her own adolescence, Bianca sought to take the lessons she’s learned to give back to those facing similar challenges.
For the past 18 months, she has been an active volunteer for the Harding Millar Education Foundation – an organisation dedicated to providing educational support to those in need. In her role, Bianca mentors three teenaged girls, offering support through academic tutoring, conversations around mental health and career guidance.
To Bianca, the lessons she’s learned from being able to witness her three girls flourish and thrive has been an eye opening and exceptionally heart-warming experience.
Lenny Crotty, Programs Volunteer at Special Olympics – Nevada
As the Head of Multi-National Acquiring at Till, Lenny has been fortunate enough to have come across inspiring mentors and leader who have empowered him to achieve his goals throughout the course of his own life.
To pay the goodwill forward, Lenny decided to volunteer at the Special Olympics in Nevada to share some of the lessons that he has learned as a mentee, himself. Through coaching and mentoring Special Olympics athlete leaders on important leadership themes, and organising sporting competitions for Special Olympics athletes, he passed on the encouragement, wisdom, and positivity he gained over the years to the athletes in the organisation. Moving forward, he will continue to work as a volunteer for the organization with a humble and grateful heart.
Christopher Ly, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teacher at Gyms across Sydney
Outside of his role at Till, Christopher has been a passionate Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athlete for nearly a decade. The sport has been an enriching outlet for Chris in his own life so he decided to share its joys by volunteering as a teacher to adults and children in Sydney’s Inner West.
His experience as a Volunteer Jiu-Jitsu teacher has taught him patience and gives him a great sense of pride, particularly when seeing his students take part in competitions.
Jo Ryan, Volunteer at Delta Therapy Dogs
Chief & Wookie are Jo’s partners-in-crime. When Jo isn’t busy going above and beyond for our merchants, she can be found volunteering at one of Melbourne’s many hospitals with her four-legged sidekicks from Delta Therapy Dogs.
The two furry doctors are absolute superstars who never fail to put a smile on the faces of the patients and families they visit every week. Therapy dogs provide stress and tension relief for those facing difficult times because of mental or physical illness.
Apart from the obvious benefits of being best friends with some of the friendliest dogs in the Eastern Seaboard, her volunteering position has offered simple yet valuable life lessons for Jo, particularly to ‘never judge a book by its cover’. Spending time with those who are struggling with illnesses has made Jo a better person – both in her personal and professional lives – helping her become more empathetic, understanding and mindful of others’ emotions.
Tanya Green, Surf Life Saver at North Bondi Beach
From April to September each year, you’ll see Tanya donning the iconic surf lifesaving red and yellow, patrolling the beaches of North Bondi during the weekends and making sure anyone who needs help is in good hands.
Whether it’s a lost child, rescuing a drowning swimmer, or performing CPR, Tanya and her team are on call to address any situation that might happen along the coastline.
Through volunteering, Tanya has unlocked new, valuable skills, like first aid, and has the opportunity to apply her leadership knowledge in a totally different environment as the Vice-Captain of her team. She is also surrounded by like-minded people who are just as passionate about surfing as she is, making her involvement in the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club a win-win scenario that enables her to put her personal interests into meaningful actions, save lives and meet new people!
At Till, we recognise there is no greater impact than the power of community and we strive to create an environment that deeply engages and encourages our Force to live and breathe our One Team, One Family value. Our Till Force volunteer heroes fill us with pride and we hope to encourage more people to volunteer for organizations that contribute to the betterment of the world we live in.