A remarkable man

A few weeks ago we were privileged to have a chat with John Schofield. Sadly, John passed away shortly after his story was written. His family has graciously allowed us to share his inspiring story with you.

“Find something you’re interested and passionate about, and do it.” This was some wise advice shared by a very enthusiastic John Schofield.
While working at the University of Otago, John joined the Otago Youth Wellness Trust programme and agreed serve as a mentor, to assist vulnerable young people.

John was required to attend their mentoring programme, and questioned the need for a successful parent to go back to school. “I have a science background, so I’m suspicious of everything, but I went along and realised they were right. There is more to mentoring than just being able to raise your own children.”

John went on to mentor two young men over a six year period. After this time John said, “I must have been going through mentoring withdrawal, so I asked ‘What more can I do to help others?”

This question led John to join Stepping Stones three years ago. Stepping Stones is a community service, run by Family Works in South Dunedin, promoting mental and social well being and resilience.

“Activities I’ve done with Stepping Stones clients include drawing portraits of people, playing music, helping with creative activities, assisting with lunch preparation and general support functions.”

John remarked on the connections that Stepping Stones creates for everyone involved, “It’s a real family here. I enjoy the opportunity to sit and chat with others who are here, and to work with them on various projects.”

If you didn’t think John was busy enough, he also volunteered at St Andrews care home, run by Presbyterian Support Otago. John played his clarinet for residents, and has built  strong relationships with the residents and staff over the years. He regularly waltzed in and played music for the residents.     

“Volunteering is a way of giving back. I believe it was the Dalai Lama who said ‘We are here to be happy. And the best way to do that is to help other people’.”
John clearly followed that creed, and certainly seems to bring a vitality to those around him.            

Presbyterian Support Otago always need more volunteers to assist with our Family Works and Enliven programmes. Click here to find out more about volunteering.

Article written by Imogen Duncan