By Aaron Cordy
MANY unsung heroes in the community front up weekly to community groups and organisations to share their time and experiences as volunteers. It’s these volunteers who can often be faceless in the bigger scheme of sporting clubs, community-based organisations and even healthcare, but without these dedicated helpers, many organisations would not function.
At The Adviser, we hope to shine a little light on some of these amazing people in our community, beginning with Mooroopna local Marija Matejic.
With over 20 years of volunteering for GV Hospice behind her, Marija’s giving nature and connection to the community began well beforehand. She grew up in Geelong and Melbourne before her husband got a teaching position in Shepparton in 1977 before they settled in Mooroopna in 1979.
The mother of three began volunteering in the early 1990s in aged care and a little at a local kindergarten, before shifting to palliative care for GV Hospice. As well as volunteering at the hospital talking to patients on the wards and showing them around to their appointments.
“I like meeting the people, catching up with them, visiting them. If they’re able to go out for coffee, it’s really good. In the volunteering role [palliative care] it’s not all gloomy. It’s not you know, oh gosh they are going to die anytime sort of thing, you can have a really good time with the clients,” said Marija on why she has been volunteering for so long.
Marija’s giving nature comes naturally to her, on reflection, it’s not hard to understand why.
“When I look back and think, I probably looked at it subconsciously because my dad was a volunteer too, down in Geelong with migrants. So yeah, that probably triggered that to think back and do something.”
GV Hospice is one of many great organisations where community members can offer their time and make a difference in the lives of many people, including the volunteers themselves.
“It’s fulfilling and you make a difference in someone’s life. But more so they make a difference to you. So, I feel richer within myself knowing that I’ve met these people,” said Marija.