Antonio and Ilona might seem like an unlikley pair, but In Great Company matched them on their interests, and their relationship couldn’t be greater. We sat down with Antonio to find out more about his journey to volunteering and his experiences visiting
When did you get involved with In Great Company?
I got involved with the organisation at the end of November 2021. I had reached a point in my life that I felt it was time to give back and try to make a positive difference in someone’s life.
What attracted you to become a volunteer?
I have always been a giving person, but volunteering has provided me the ability to help and serve the community. The magic that happens and the joy I receive when I make my weekly visit enriches my life and others’. Knowing that a few hours a week
can make another person’s life a little easier, or give that person a sense purpose, or fill the void of loneliness, is wonderful.
What attracted you to the organisation?
I was having a chat with my mother in-law, and I told her that I was thinking about volunteering. I had mentioned In Great Company and told her that they were part of Feros Care. When I mentioned Feros Care, she told me all about the organisation
and how it started as she grew up near Byron Bay. She also told me that she had known Mr George Feros and all the wonderful things he achieved. I knew that In Great Company was where I wanted to start my volunteer work.
Who do you visit and what do your visits involve?
The person I visit is named Ilona, and she is wonderful. Ilona lives on her own on two acres of land. She keeps very fit and active looking after a big place, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. The weekly visits I make vary, some weeks
we have a coffee and a long chat and play board games. Other weeks I will help her in the garden, help her with her computer or take her shopping. The most important thing is that we have established a good friendship through In Great Company
and I know she looks forward to our weekly visits.
What makes you motivated to stay involved with lonely seniors?
I am motivated by what a few hours a week of volunteering can do to make a positive difference in a person’s life. I didn’t realise until I started volunteering how many lonely seniors did not have someone to talk to on a regular basis,
or didn’t have family nearby to spend time with. The joy you receive volunteering, when you see the smile on a person’s face when you arrive at their home and how happy they are to see you, makes it all worth it.
What is the most important work that In Great Company does?
I feel that the most important work that In Great Company does is helping people live a more fulfilled life. The commitment of the staff and volunteer team makes it possible to help seniors stay safe and connected, and to know that someone cares about
them, they are valued and important.
What in your life inspired you to get involved?
I have been very blessed to have grown up experiencing a family and community that gave me the best gift, which was their time. I have seen how giving your time can change the lives of others in such a positive and meaningful way, that’s what
inspired me to get involved with volunteering.
What moves you about your client?
I get moved and inspired every week by my client, the stories she tells me about her adventurous life over the past 80 plus years. Moving to Australia from Austria when she was a teenager to avoid the war in Europe, or getting her first job in Melbourne
as a machinist at the age of 14, or her adventures living in Byron Bay. There are so many stories, I could be here all day. The thing that inspires me most about my client is that she is still planning adventures for the future!
Do you have a message to share?
The only message I would like to share is, that if you have a few hours a week to give another person, you can change their life as well as your own in such a positive and rewarding way. It’s fantastic and you will establish a new friendship.