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The power of volunteering

Giving Back Community Positive Ageing Residential Retirement Stories Volunteer
  • Volunteers recognised by new annual volunteer awards
  • Winners announced in IRT’s six regions
  • Nominees judged in terms of contribution to residents’ lives
  • IRT’s Volunteer Program ensures volunteers feel valued and rewarded
IRT Volunteer of the Year Award winner in the Sydney region - Tricia Hooi-Crispe.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week 2018 (21-27 May) IRT recognised its volunteers by launching an annual Volunteer Awards.

“Working as a volunteer really helped me to recover."
Tricia Hooi-Crispe

Award nominees were judged in terms of their contribution to the lives of IRT residents.

IRT has 800 volunteers and the Volunteer Program is designed to ensure that IRT’s volunteers feel valued and rewarded.

Winners were announced in each of IRT’s six regions – four in NSW (Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Sydney), one in Queensland and one in the ACT.

Volunteer Tricia Hooi-Crispe chats with IRT Berala on the Park resident Siu Kwan To.

Tricia Hooi-Crispe – Sydney region winner

Tricia Hooi-Crispe gets as much out of volunteering as the residents she entertains and speaks to each week at IRT Berala on the Park.

“Working as a volunteer really helped me to recover,” she explains.

Two years ago Tricia was struggling with depression and had to stop working.

“I was quite down with depression and I was housebound for four months,” she explains.

It was during her recovery that Tricia took the steps to engage with IRT Berala on the Park and embark on her volunteering journey with the Community.

At IRT Berala on the Park Tricia volunteers her time one morning a week where she plays music for the residents. “When I play the piano the residents clap and sing along,” she says.

She also spends time talking with the Community’s Cantonese-speaking residents, helping them to keep culturally and linguistically connected to their community.

Her work with IRT saw her recognised as the Sydney – Volunteer of the Year Award Winner – as part of the inaugural IRT Volunteer Awards during National Volunteer Week in May.

Tricia was surprised to be recognised by the awards. “I told myself there are more worthy winners,” she says. “I couldn’t believe it. All I want to do is give happiness, I do not need an award to be happy, but I’m glad IRT is so appreciative of my work.”

Today Tricia works for Flourish Australia, a not-for-profit mental health organisation, as an administration support officer, and she also volunteers with the National Breast Cancer Foundation as well as IRT Berala on the Park.

Tricia brings a wealth of experience to her volunteering role at IRT – as a music teacher with 25 years’ experience. “I trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and majored in the clarinet,” she explains. She worked in Forbes, Parkes and Grenfell in her chosen profession before returning to Sydney.

However, depression took hold and Tricia struggled to get through daily life, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel. “Volunteering has been a big part of my recovery journey,” she explains. “It makes me want to wake up every morning. Helping others helps me heaps. I am thrilled to see the joy and happiness in the faces of all I have touched with my music appreciation.”

Tricia encourages people to volunteer in a nursing home. “People [in care] enjoy the fresh new face to give them happiness,” she says.

 Lifeline (13 11 14) and beyondblue (1300 224 636) offer support to people with depression.

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