As The Huddle’s impact in the Wyndham area continues to grow, our volunteers and their connections to the community are vital in helping young people learn, grow and belong.
One such volunteer is Eli. Since joining The Huddle in December 2021, Eli has been instrumental in building our Huddle Up volleyball program on Friday nights at Eagle Stadium in Werribee. We sat down with Eli to learn more about how he came to be a volunteer at The Huddle and his journey with volunteering so far.
How did you first learn about the Huddle?
I’ve always been really passionate about sport (particularly volleyball) and I was actually running my own volleyball session out in the local park because I wanted to increase engagement with the community and give people a place to go.
Some of the youths who were coming down each week said they heard about The Huddle running a volleyball activity at Eagle Stadium, so I went down one night and spoke to Steph (Head of Sport & Recreation at The Huddle) and asked if they were looking for volunteers. She said yes and I applied on The Huddle website that night!
It worked out perfectly to be honest. As much as I enjoyed going down to the park, it is nice to not have to lug around my own equipment and playing inside means we can keep going regardless of the weather.
How long have been involved in Volleyball for?
I played growing up back home in New Zealand. I was lucky enough to go to a volleyball school which meant I got to play pretty much every day! I continued playing during my time in the Defence Force and Army as well, so it’s been a big part of my life that’s for sure.
I’ve been getting more into coaching these past few years as I’m getting a bit old. Although I still play on a Wednesday night in Altona, so I haven’t completely stopped yet.
What’s your favourite part about coaching?
Seeing improvements from people each and every week. It’s really rewarding watching people gain more and more confidence and doing things they didn’t think they were capable of. It’s great building that sense of community and supportive environments as well.
What would you say to anyone who’s interested in volunteering but hasn’t done it before and doesn’t know where to start?
I think an important thing is to find something you’re passionate about and volunteer in that space.
I have always loved sport, so a lot of my volunteering has centred around that. But I think there’s always opportunities to help people with everything really, whether it’s education, helping people write resumes and apply for jobs, etc. You can help people in so many different ways.
Most importantly, give it a go! You have nothing to lose. The feeling you get from helping people is unmatched and I wish everyone could experience it. You can also make a really positive impact on an individual or a group of people’s lives.