Report: Ms Leptos

One of the absolute joys of running the volunteering program and visiting my volunteers on site is that it gives me the opportunity to speak to students about their passions and aspirations. This week I’m visiting Rahni at the St Vincent De Paul charity shop in Edwardes street Reservoir.

A clever and hardworking student, Rahni has discovered a passion for Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy. For Rahni, the Morrisby testing suggested that astrophysics might be a possible career for her. From that idea, a plan was devised and Rahni is now strongly focussed on pursuing studies that will lead to her realising this career goal.

The work at Vinnies is light years away from astrophysics, but Rahni has invested the same passion and energy she has for her academic studies, into this work. The path to getting this volunteering placement was full of twists and turns and it was a relief to get the call that shop manager Caitlyn was able to offer her the position.

A “fantastic” worker that is quick to pick up skills and “easy to be around” is how Caitlyn describes the ever modest Rahni. Quite unexpectedly the staff working in the sorting area call out to confirm that Rahni is terrific to work with. 

With many people taking the opportunity of Covid lockdown to go through their cupboards, Vinnies has been inundated with donations. Rahni’s job has been to open up parcels of donations, sort the items and separate saleable goods from those that don’t make the grade. Then of course comes the hanging and pressing before items are taken into the shop. Rahni, and the other Vinnies’ staff organise goods in colour blocks and this works to give the shop a joyful, fresh look. It’s a merchandising strategy that has worked well for Vinnies, which has seen an enormous growth in its customer base. 

“Of course we cater for some of the poorest in society but we are also a great place for bargain hunters and those with a strong environmental conscience,” Caitlyn explains. 

“People want their shopping to be sustainable.”