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Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2024: Building Brighter Beginnings Together

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week 2024, we want to reflect on the incredible spirit of giving that binds communities together. This year's theme, 'Something for Everyone', resonates deeply with our mission here at LIVEfree Project, particularly within our Brighter Beginnings Bus Program.


As we reflect on the profound impact of volunteerism, we are reminded that every act of kindness, no matter how small, contributes to a brighter future for all.

 

The Heartbeat of Our Community

At the heart of our program lies a simple yet powerful belief: every child deserves a chance to thrive. They are the future leaders of Newcastle. Their wellbeing doesn't just impact their own lives; it resonates throughout their families, our streets and neighbourhoods, weaving a tapestry of communal strength. In nurturing these young minds, we're not just fostering hope; we're sowing the seeds of a robust and resilient community that will flourish for generations to come.

 

The Power of Volunteerism

None of this would be possible without the unwavering dedication of our volunteers. Their selfless contributions form the backbone of our program, infusing it with compassion and purpose. Whether it's driving the bus, packing food parcels, or offering a comforting presence to children in need, our volunteers embody the true spirit of service. With approximately 2,000 volunteer hours dedicated to facilitating bus runs and an additional 1,500 hours spent supporting families, their impact is immeasurable.



Addressing Complex Challenges, One Bus Ride at a Time

In the face of pressing socio-economic challenges, this program is making a significant impact. With poverty rates on the rise and the shadow of family violence looming large, our work has never been more vital. In New South Wales, one in eight people lives in poverty, highlighting the pressing socio-economic challenges facing our communities. In Newcastle, these statistics are even more alarming, with 42% of residents belonging to low-income households, and 25% of children living in poverty. The pervasive impact of family violence further compounds these challenges, casting a long shadow over children's wellbeing and future prospects. By confronting these issues head-on, the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program seeks to break the cycle of adversity and pave the way for brighter futures.

 

A Testimony of Transformation

One of our dedicated bus drivers shares a poignant testimony of the transformative power of our program.

 

"Some time ago I was asked to help a friend in getting some kids to school. It seemed like a simple enough process - pick the kids up, drop them off at school and then go about my normal day. That was about 12 months ago and during my time driving the bus what I have witnessed is truly extraordinary.

 

Scared, timid children have gone through enormous personality changes. Some children who would walk timidly to the bus now run with confidence to the Wellbeing Workers who have done an almighty job in building relationship and gaining confidence.

 

They have become someone they can rely on. Now they hi-5 each other as they get on the bus, and I too occasionally receive a hi-5. Children that wouldn't talk or interact, now say "thanks mista!" with a fist pump.

 

They have almost formed their own society, their own community; a place that is safe where they now interact openly, telling stories, jokes and singing songs loudly! I was asked to assist the children, but I know it is really me who gets the most help out of the morning run. Their transformation into happy, confident, enthusiastic school goers makes your heart so happy, and creates a sense of wellbeing and accomplishment."



How You Can Make a Difference

As we celebrate National Volunteer Week, we extend a heartfelt invitation to all who wish to support our mission. Whether through a donation to the Brighter Beginnings Bus Program or by volunteering your time, every contribution makes a meaningful difference. Can you spare just one morning a week? Perhaps one morning a fortnight? Whatever your capacity, there is a role for you to play in building brighter beginnings for local children and families.

 

Join Us Today

To donate or volunteer, please visit https://www.livefreeproject.org.au/volunteer.

Your support is invaluable in shaping brighter beginnings for local children and families.

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