Why do we do what we do as volunteers? Because ‘all’ young adults are our future!
For me, being a volunteer has been about assisting, supporting and nurturing the recovery, growth and development of the hearts and lives of our younger generation. Giving them the opportunity to discover the part of the puzzle in their lives that they’ve missed out on and for which they yearn, despite the adverse circumstances that they have found themselves in due to the ‘cards they have been dealt’. I have been given the opportunity to show in my humanities work that we as a society can have non-judgemental and open hearts and minds to their plight, keeping in mind that nobody orders the sometimes adverse circumstances that they live with; and that they and we are all are but part of a larger society which cultivates the troubles that we find ourselves in at times.
It is extremely fulfilling being a volunteer at Mirikai in contributing to a very worthy cause in the growth and development of individuals who are valuable to our society and in contributing to a unique and professional organisation incorporating dual diagnosis; from my collective experiences and studies I believe without this dual diagnosis support, it is much harder to pursue the recovery from addiction. Being involved in volunteering and being a volunteer team leader is about being a thoughtful support for residents, volunteers and staff; instilling and reinforcing the value system of therapeutic community whilst showing compassion, social justice, respect, optimism and integrity in giving this very important community spirit, which we would always expect for our own lives.
The uniqueness and intelligence of all residents of Mirikai always strikes me; residing at Mirikai there is a diverse range of talented, intelligent, caring, sensitive and compassionate young people – despite their disorganised circumstances or upbringings they have been brought to bear. The stereotypes and schemas in society which addicts are labelled with, simply don’t hold true. All of these incredibly intelligent young adults have unlimited potential to become the person they were ‘all’ destined to be.
Working with residents and with The Gold Coast Drug Council for the last year has been rewarding personally and professionally. From a professional perspective, the experience and training I have gained has enhanced my social work and psychology study and development no end; giving deeper meaning to studies of individualist and collectivist (societal) troubles. In addition, I have gained in my own experiences and growth in the humanities field in practising positive associations to assist residents to grow strong in terms of having safe boundaries and values to counteract the threats to their ‘well being’ and to improve their condition of ‘uneasiness’ and ‘indifference’ that is the signal feature of our period, the 21st century. I have enjoyed the privilege of simply being there for residents if they need someone to talk to or to remind them what fabulous human beings they are and always will be. They have helped me understood more deeply the complexities of their troubles; reinforcing the fact that these troubles are not only individual but part of a larger society.
Mirikai is a fabulous place which takes the individual and collective perspectives of surrounding relationships and influences into perspective to aid recovery; who could not support such a professional and worthy cause in nurturing our young adults. I get so much more out of Mirikia than what I put in – I am very privileged.