Brett Thiedeman, a Distribution Manager at Allianz, remembers his first volunteer session.
“For me it started about 10 years ago when I worked at a previous employer and one of the guys I sat next to is part of St Vinnies, he was the one who introduced me to Ozanam House; he got me interested so I went there with him to have a look. It was a great experience. For me it made me realise what some people experience.”
“When I started with Allianz I was put on the Victorian Leadership Team and in that role I wanted to drive and raise awareness of the Community Service Day that’s available to all Allianz staff but few were making use of it. It’s a staff benefit and people can support a chosen charity. Ozanam House was the first thing that came to my mind and I thought it would be fantastic for Allianz staff to support the great work of VincentCare and Ozanam House. “
“It had been a fantastic experience for me,” says Brett, “so when this opportunity arose I contacted Louise (VincentCare Victoria’s Participation Team Leader) and asked how we could do it. I thought, "if I’m going to coordinate it, I want to go along and contribute, so back in June 2013 I was Allianz’s first volunteer at Ozanam House. “
“Our volunteers do an orientation session with Erica before they do meal assistance, serving and cleaning in the kitchen, generally in a group of 2 or 3.”
“I’m of the opinion,” says Brett, “you need to give something back.”
"My personal experience is that until you go and you see what places like Ozanam Community Centre do, you don’t know these places exist. I wasn’t aware there were these kind of facilities to help people in these situations. At least every day you get a good quality, hearty meal.”