8 March 2024

Volunteering for good

When you’ve volunteered for Presbyterian Support Otago (PSO) for over 20 years, there’ll be plenty of things that have changed but one thing is constant with Julie Cecchi – her commitment to helping others and bringing positive change.

Julie was recently the recipient of a PSO Life Membership and she reflects on her ‘career’ with PSO.

“I had retired from a career as a child therapist, having also been an academic on the famous Dunedin Study, under the directorship of the founder, Phil Silva.”

“I’m not the sort of person to sit around, so I needed to do something purposeful. I approached Volunteer South and discovered that PSO were looking for volunteers.”

Julie started as a Visiting Volunteer in the Dunedin community and continues to do that to this day.

“I started by visiting Eric* and we would play scrabble. Eric couldn’t be left on his own so when I was there, his wife, Mavis*, had the opportunity to go out shopping and do other things.”

Following Eric’s death Julie continued visiting Mavis until her death. Ten years ago she became Ross Home’s Volunteer Coordinator (as a volunteer!) and is still very much active in this role.

So why did Julie get involved with PSO?

“I’d like to think I’m making a small but positive difference. It gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning!”

The 72-year-old has a full life and is rarely without anything to do. In her spare time (when she has some!) she likes to read, do jigsaws, and take Harry, her dog, for walks.

When asked what she would say to someone thinking about becoming a volunteer she says, “Do it! It brings just as many rewards for yourself as the value you bring to helping others.”

Banner image: (left to right) Stephanie Pettigrew (Board Chair), Julie Cecchi and Jo O’Neill (CEO)

*Names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Across PSO our 519 volunteers have gifted 65,312 hours during the last year!

45% of our volunteers gift their time to help older people through Enliven services

Interested in volunteering?
If you would like more information about giving your time through volunteering, please visit our volunteering pages or contact our volunteer coordinator, Jasmin on 027 700 1550.


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