By Harry Easton
A selection of Conviction Group’s volunteers has revealed why they believe their work is improving the mental health of young men in the community.
With National Volunteer Week getting underway this week, Conviction Group would like to acknowledge the fantastic work from every volunteer across the organisation.
It is fitting that the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week is ‘changing communities, changing lives’, as this is a major factor in what motivates Conviction Group’s proud army of volunteers to give up their time for the charity.
Rodney has been a volunteer with Conviction Group since 2018 and is the Program Co-ordinator.
“I volunteer with Conviction Group because I love the cause about helping young Australians become aware of their mental health. I hope that one day we can remove the stigmas that are currently present.”
While Rodney has dedicated much of his own time into expanding Conviction Group’s programs into new schools, he says the work put in by the entire army of volunteers is what impresses him the most.
“What we have achieved as a group over the last five years is vastly more impressive than what I myself as an individual has achieved, and I look forward to seeing the impact that we as a collective can do in the future!”
Julian and Monique are both Forum Coordinators, organising the small groups and presentations for Conviction Group’s Young Men’s Health Forum.
“Two things I enjoy about volunteering at CG are the people and the ability to contribute to a vision I believe in, to see a generation of empowered young Australians capable of taking responsibility for their personal health.”
Along with over 40 other male volunteers, Julian also volunteers as a facilitator during the Young Men’s Health Forum.
The facilitator’s role involves leading and engaging with a small group of students who have come together from over 20 different schools.
They provide a safe space where the students can have open and honest discussions about their personal experiences with masculinity, mental health and healthy relationships among other topics.
“I've learned how to facilitate difficult conversations and how to bring a group of people together who otherwise would never have formed a bond,” says Julian.
Hudson has also volunteered as a facilitator, as well as volunteering his time as IT Officer.
One of his favourite parts of volunteering is having “meaningful conversations” with the students.
“Being a part of that process is really rewarding,” says Hudson.
Sanjay was a volunteer facilitator at Conviction Group’s very first forum, and is now a member of the charity’s board.
“The most vivid memory for me was a Forum a few years ago where one young man asked me during the session if I got paid to be here,” says Sanjay.
“He had been quiet up to this point, but that was the first question he asked. I smiled at him and said 'no mate. I'm a volunteer’. He looked surprised and said 'oh' whilst nodding his head.”
“At the end of the day, I put my hand out to shake this young man's hand. He left my hand hanging for a moment as he slightly shook his head, and gave me a big hug as he said 'thank you’.”
“This made it clear to me that the most important thing we do for the young men we seek to help is simply showing them we care about them.”
The volunteers who worked behind the scenes at the forum equally provide a crucial role, ensuring that the day’s events run smoothly.
Bree has volunteered since 2016, and as Forum Manager has overseen the running of three forums.
“I definitely think all volunteers at Conviction Group make an impact, all in different ways but all as important as each other,” says Bree.
“I think that you can see that what we do, in putting on the forums in the first place, makes a massive impact in the student’s lives. And that’s amazing.
The work of these six volunteers is just a small sample of the impact that hundreds of volunteers have had on growing the Conviction Group brand.
“Our people are the heart and soul of Conviction Group,” says Conviction Group CEO Marco Capobianco.
“Without the continued support and drive of our volunteers, Conviction Group would not be where it is today.”
“Our community of volunteers our passionate, enthusiastic and personable. Our team works together to help our organisation create change and delivery effective educational programs to young people’
To find out more about volunteering with Conviction Group, click here.