Photograph of volunteer Helen Wong

Why did you first become a volunteer with the Brotherhood?
After I graduated from university in 2009, I didn’t want to start work right away because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. So I took a year off to figure out my priorities and assess my future. In retrospect, it was a journey to reset expectations that I had for myself, both personally and professionally. I was looking to volunteer for the Brotherhood during my time off, so the opportunity to get involved with the organisation came at a brilliant time!

What volunteer work did you do?
I volunteered with Brotherhood Books I love to read and I’m an advocate of the paperback. Hardcovers are good, too. I’m not really on board with e-books just yet and I suspect I never will be. I think Brotherhood Books is a wonderful social enterprise. I remember being so impressed by the rows and rows of books. I hadn’t anticipated the effect volunteering would have on my growing collection of books – or on my waning wallet!

How did volunteering lead to you working for the Brotherhood?
During my time as a volunteer I was inspired to be more involved with the Brotherhood, so I was proactive in looking for opportunities. I was also very lucky to meet people who gave me other chances to get involved. I worked in the Business Improvement team for Social Enterprises where I had a great role which enabled me to mix with many different teams in the whole organisation. My most memorable assignment was helping to project manage the move of Social Enterprises’ warehouse and offices. It was an exciting time and a big team effort to pull it off.

My transition to ANZ from the Brotherhood came from a development training opportunity that ANZ offers to the Brotherhood. While doing the training I met someone who I really clicked with and she made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse! So it was a fortuitous meeting that got me to ANZ. In my two years at the company, I’ve fulfilled roles in the technology, retail broker and Home Loans Product departments.

I’ll always remember my time at the Brotherhood fondly. I met people there who continue to have a lasting positive influence on me and I genuinely enjoyed every moment. It was the best team that I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. It was always fun and never boring!

Tell us about your current volunteer role at the Brotherhood, and why you wanted to volunteer with us again.
I’m volunteering on the Social Enterprises Committee. By combining my knowledge about Social Enterprise with my experience at ANZ, I hope to provide balanced governance to help support the team in an effort to realise growth potential. I really believe in the good work that the Brotherhood is doing and I’m proud to associate with the organisation again.

Your story goes full circle. What hope do you have for the future?
Hopefully I’ll be able to carry the lessons that I’ve learned at the Brotherhood with me for the rest of my life. The main insight I’ve gained is to always try to be a good person. Then perhaps being a good daughter, mother or friend will naturally follow. This is the perspective that the Brotherhood has taught me and for that I’m eternally grateful.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) acknowledges and understands its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and recognises that all children and young people have the right to be treated with respect and care, and to be safe from all forms of abuse. BSL has a zero tolerance towards child abuse. Read the official statement signed by the Executive Director.

Find out more about the work of the Brotherhood
Brotherhood Books
Brotherhood of St Laurence Communtiy Stores
Hippy Australia
Given the Chance

The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.