The volunteering bug seems to have bitten Eileen Lim since her retirement from marketing – for which she planned things she’d never tried before. She now has a packed schedule: Tuesdays and Wednesdays she volunteers as a curatorial research assistant at the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo, working with her cousin who is the Senior Fashion Design Curator there. Thursdays she gardens with SCS horticulturists Stephen and Linda and their gardening teams; Friday she teaches English to a Chinese group at Blandville Court in Gladesville;  she also helps out on outings with SCS’ Spanish group.

“Gardening was on my list of new things to do because I’ve never had a garden, and so I started volunteering there,” says Eileen.

“It’s a great thing for someone who’s generally done desk-work because in offices you are usually only part of a process. But with gardening, it’s manual and immediate and the result is very visible, very satisfying.

“There’s great company and camaraderie, plus gardening gets you outside, and I’ve learned a lot!”

Weekends and Monday are free and Eileen is often found at the gym, but she is thinking of adding more to her week.

“I like what gardening offers and might find another volunteer role that has similar qualities,” she says, “… or perhaps try something which involves young people. There were always lots of young people in marketing and I miss them.”

Eileen’s Friday morning English class for a Chinese group at Blandville Court Community Centre challenges her because it’s very mixed –  from some good English speakers to students who are hesitant. But Elieen knows how to plan a lesson for different levels because she has done a Teaching English as a Second Language course.

“Students enjoy the classes very much not only for the English but as a social occasion where they take turns to make and share lunch afterwards.  Eileen likewise enjoys the lunch and practising what she calls her “truly bad” Mandarin.

Also on her list of new things to do was to learn Spanish so she took a course and has since joined SCS’ Spanish group as a volunteer on outings when “it’s great to hear them speak Spanish and improve mine”.

Eileen has a Cantonese background from her life in Hong Kong.  This global citizen has also lived and worked in London, New York and Malaysia before moving to Gladesville.

“Although I never lived here up until the last couple of years, my father is from Australia and I have about 48 cousins here.”

If you’re interested in joining our band of  valued volunteers to help with  gardening, linen service, delivering meals, driving community transport or community visiting, please phone our volunteer coordinator on 9427 6425 or email yhughes@sydneycs.org

or see more information at https://www.sydneycs.org/get-involved-become-a-volunteer/

Most services operate weekday mornings. For people who work full time, Easy Care Gardening also operates Saturday mornings and the Community Visitors Scheme allows you to set your own schedule.