The first students in Y Challenge class to organise their volunteering placement – Rosie Kago, Lily Misiewicz and Mikalee Maroney – are also at the top of the class in terms of the high quality of their work.

When I visit them at the St Vincent De Paul Charity shop in Plenty Road Preston, they have already undergone their safety induction on precautions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and are well into their allocated duties.

Kim, their immediate supervisor has worked over many years at a range of SVP shops across Coburg, Brunswick and Preston, so when she says that these girls are the best young volunteers she has come across, from both state and private schools, it really means something. 

“The WRSC girls are wonderful. Once you give them a job you can walk away and be certain that it will not only be done, it will be done excellently,” she says. “They work really well both individually and as a team.”

On the day I visit, I also have the pleasure of meeting Shoana, the SVP area manager, who is also full of praise for these WRSC dynamos. 

“Kim says they do far more than expected and that work has an effect on the presentation of the shop,” Shoana says. “All this leads to extra sales and in the end, this sort of excellent work translates into SVP being able to provide extra support for needy people”.

Our students’ work at Vinnies is a classic case of the more you give, the more you get. For Lily, the greatest benefit she has derived from the experience so far is in terms of the social skills she has developed. 

“We work with such a wide variety of people and we now feel so much more confident in approaching them and working with them,” Lily says. “Working in retail means that you have to sell yourself as well as the items in the shop. These are skills we will carry forward into our lives”

For Rosie, the hardest part of the job was the initial phone call and the conversations she had with the manager when she asked for the position. 

“We had no idea what we were going to be asked and we had to improvise answers,” Rosie says. “The funniest day was when we were asked to sort out the jewellery counter. We all did such a great job. It was all colour coded and wonderful, until we knocked it and the whole thing tipped over with a massive crash”.

Mikalee was not present during my visit as she manages her time across two placements; Vinnies and William Ruthven Primary School. 

Watch this space for a future report on her excellent work.

– Lillian Leptos