No one can deny that in the past two years, every member of the community faced challenges like never before. However, it takes a special kind of person to see the extra strain put on others and put their hand up to help.
Tess Beagley is one such person.
“It is just who I am, to always be doing something with the community,” said Tess.
“When you’ve got skills to give to people who need the extra support then you can’t stand by, it’s just one of those things.”
One of The Huddle’s 2021 volunteer recruits, Tess reached out to The Huddle after hearing about our after-school study program, Study Squad.
“Towards the end of 2020 I was looking at tutoring and was put in touch with The Huddle to get involved with their Study Squad program.
“I really felt for all the students last year but at the time there were so many volunteers for Study Squad that I actually ended up helping run Huddle Up programs for juniors.
“After the year we’ve all had, I think the kids had eared a bit of a break so I was happy to help out in any way I could.”
Moving into 2021, Tess was keen to still lend a hand and quickly found a spot volunteering with our school holiday program.
“I’m starting a new job this month but earlier I had a bit of time up my sleeve, so I headed along to the Anglesea Surf Day and it was so much fun.
“The kids loved it and I was so impressed with how quickly they took to the water.”
Not only supporting young people begin 2021 with a smile, but Tess also soon discovered that through volunteering, she had built lasting connections with community members.
“It was a really fun way to re-engage with the community and support people who have had a really hard year. I could follow up with parents and kids on how they have been over summer, so it was nice to have that connection.
“Parents know how difficult life can be sometimes and then to give up your time, they really appreciate it. I got a lot of thank-you from the parents I saw which was really nice.”
In supporting others, Tess found that she was able to bring back some happiness that was missing in recent times. Young people kicked off their year with cries of excitement as they saw the water for the first time, showcasing the resilience of young people in bouncing back from times of crisis.
Volunteers are a core part of The Huddle and it is when we see young people supporting other young people to learn, grow and belong that we see the true strength in our community.