Heather vanderKley - A Volunteer of the Month with Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury

31 August 2022 | Articles

Volunteering is someone people’s DNA, people like one of our Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month – Heather vanderKley.

Heather has been volunteering with Sharing Everyday Experiences and Drawing on Skills (S.E.E.D.S ) for four years now. She got involved with S.E.E.D.S after seeing an ad calling for more volunteers. S.E.E.D.S are currently looking for more volunteers.

Heather is assigned a family by the Co-ordinator of S.E.E.D.S and she meets with the family. Her role is to find out what the issues the family want help with are. Listening is a build part of building a trusting relationship which is so vital to the role.

Heather could be helping parents with budgeting skills, organising children’s meals, developing sleep patterns for the children or many other parenting issues.

Now days families don’t always have close extended family to help and support or families can be estranged. Heather provides parenting advice based on her own knowledge and experience as a Mum.

The support she offers generally is given for around two months but that can be extended. Over her time volunteering she has worked with ten families to help them grow in their confidence.

Heather has had a great success rate with her families and helping them find their own solutions. She freely offers her advice and wisdom and it over to the families if they take it. She loves it when they come back to her and say they have tried something she suggested, and it worked.

She quickly builds a repore with a family and feels really privileged that they trust this stranger to come into their home and guide them. For Heather they move from being strangers to her being part of their family at this part of their journey.

She feels an immense satisfaction from volunteering as S.E.E.D.S is not her own volunteering she and her husband Walter have fostered many children, helped with meals on wheels and are both actively involved in Rotary. Volunteering is certainly in their DNA with both sets of their parents having been volunteers which laid strong foundation for them. A foundation that has now passed on to Heather and Walter’s two daughters who are involved with Rotary, with her one daughter the current president of a Rotary club at Rolleston.

For Heather, her S.E.E.D.S volunteering is just about sharing her own parenting experience and because she has been through the joys, challenges, high and lows of parenting she can share how she managed parenting with other parents.