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A Day in the Life of a Habitat Volunteer  

Every wondered what it’s like to volunteer with Habitat Australia on a Brush with Kindness Day?  

Maybe you’ve been considering volunteering, but you are feeling a little uncertain about what to expect? Or worried you don’t have enough experience. Here is a day in the life of a Habitat Australia volunteer; an incredibly rewarding experience with some amazing and inspiring people.  

Hi! My name is Chloe and today was my first-time volunteering with Habitat for Humanity Australia. This is me and my trusty paint roller getting ready for the day. 

Step One, arrive at the site! Once we arrive, around 9am, we meet the other volunteers and our Supervisor, Greg. Greg gives us a short briefing about what the game plan for the day is and most importantly tells us what not to do! For example, do not accidentally paint the ceiling or trek paint across the carpet! This is also an opportunity for him to tell us a little about the project.  

Today the project we are working on is in partnership with the Wesley Mission, we’re giving a home, for families escaping domestic violence, a new coat of paint to make it a little cosier and more welcoming for when they arrive. On the day I learned that victims of domestic violence often come from affluent backgrounds and homes and when they arrive at the shelters sometimes they consider going back to their unsafe environments with their children because the shelters often lack funding to keep them freshly painted and well maintained. A fresh coat of paint can really make a life altering decision between a woman and her children staying at the shelter.   

We’re a smaller group today so we split up the tasks, two per room. I get to paint-rolling and my co-volunteer, Riekie starts on the edging. Next door two other volunteers are doing the same, everyone is chatting away, listening to music and enjoying the day.  

At 10:30, we have a short break for morning tea. This is a great opportunity to get to know the rest of the group. We share some food, Amira, another volunteer offers me a packet of jumpy’s (big points for the hit of school nostalgia!), Lou does a little coffee run and we all sit in a circle and chat about the project, university, travel, what’s going on in the world at the moment and our upcoming plans. After morning tea, we’re all feeling a lot comfier with each other and it’s the perfect opportunity for me to have a little chat with the other volunteers about their reasons for volunteering today.  

First, I chatted to Amira and Lavinia. Lavinia has just finished university  and Lavinia is in her final year and is a regular volunteer whilst this is Amira’s first project but for sure not her last!  

Lavinia feels that volunteering is a great way to give back and finds the experience really rewarding, when talking about the house we’re painting she says;

“The family moving in is someone that needs it. You’re doing a little something to make it a nicer, more welcoming place.”  

Downstairs I chat to Lou, this is her 8th Volunteer Day with Brush with Kindness – she loves how friendly these volunteer days are and the diversity of the people who volunteer, particularly that she gets to meet and make friends with people of all ages whilst really giving back to the community through these projects.  

Not wanting to abandon my post for too long after chatting, I get back to painting bedroom one, we’re almost finished and It looks great. We chatted about the family who might move in here and are hopeful that the fresh feeling helps them get through such a challenging time and gives them a boost to restart their lives.

In Australia, 1 in 3 women (30.5%) has experienced physical violence since the age of 15 whilst 1 in 4 women (23%) has experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner since the age of 15, and we’re positive there are many more cases that go unreported. Leaving a violent or manipulative relationship can be especially difficult if these families have nowhere to go. After lunch, Lisa from Wesley Mission comes to chat to us and gives us more of an idea of Wesley Mission’s projects and ambitions as well as telling us about who might eventually live in this house.  

Habitat for Humanity Australia is working with Wesley Mission to help people and families in tough living situations feel a little more at home, allowing them to feel safe, secure, and confident to start their lives afresh. We love working with organisations that make a real difference and Wesley Mission has helped hundreds of Aussies get back on their feet.  

After lunch we finish our painting and pack up, this includes setting up a few bits of furniture for the incoming family to enjoy and of course, taking a photo with the Habitat banner, a rite of passage!   

Three women and one man, stand in a line, against a blank white wall. They are holding up a large banner that reads 'Habitat for Humanity Australia. Helping Hands: I just volunteered!'

It’s so great to see the progress we have made; we are all really proud of our efforts and hopeful the family that moves in here will find a place to call home. I know I am not the only one to feel incredibly grateful to be part of an experience like Habitat Australia’s Brush with Kindness project and to have met some wonderful, likeminded people. 

I could not recommend this experience enough, it was a wonderful day in so many ways; from the community, to the work to the to doing something kind for those in need.  

If you still need some convincing, check out this reel to see what we got up to on the day.

Volunteering with Habitat Australia is a straightforward process; just head to our Helping Hands page, sign up and check out the calendar to see if we have any projects coming up near you. And don’t forget to check our social media for updates on what we’re working and where!

I hope this gave you a better idea of what to expect, I cannot wait to see more people on site! 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence please call 1800RESPECT or visit one of the helplines below;

Lifeline | Ph: 13 11 14

Kids HelpLine | 1800 551 800

Mensline Australia | 1300 789 978

Elder Abuse Hotline | 1800 353 374

13Yarn | 13 92 76 (For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people)