Volunteer Get to Know: Eli

As The Huddle’s impact in the Wyndham area continues to grow, our volunteers and their community connections are essential in helping young people learn, grow and integrate.

One of these volunteers is Eli. Since joining The Huddle in December 2021, Eli has been instrumental in building our Huddle Up volleyball program on Friday nights at Eagle Stadium in Werribee. We sat down with Eli to find out more about how he became a volunteer at The Huddle and his journey with volunteering so far.

How did you hear about the Huddle?

I have always had a passion for sports (especially volleyball) and organized my own volleyball session at the local park because I wanted to increase engagement with the community and give people a place to to go.

Some of the youngsters who come each week said they had heard of The Huddle having a volleyball activity at Eagle Stadium, so I went down one evening and spoke to Steph (sports and recreation manager at The Huddle) and I asked if they were looking for volunteers. She said yes and I applied on The Huddle website that night!

It worked perfectly to be honest. As much as I enjoyed going to the park, it’s nice not having to lug my own gear around and playing inside means we can keep going whatever the weather.

How long have you been involved in volleyball?

I played while growing up back home in New Zealand. I was lucky enough to go to a volleyball school, which allowed me to play almost every day! I continued to perform during my time in the defense forces and the military, so that’s been a big part of my life, for sure.

I’ve focused more on training in recent years as I’m getting a bit older. Although I’m still playing on a Wednesday night in Altona, so I haven’t completely quit yet.

What do you like best about coaching?

See improvements from people every week. It’s really rewarding to see people growing in confidence and doing things they didn’t think they were capable of. It’s great to build that sense of community and supportive environments as well.

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering but has never done it before and doesn’t know where to start?

I think an important thing is to find something you’re passionate about and volunteer in that space.

I’ve always loved sports, so a lot of my volunteering has been focused on that. But I think there are always opportunities to help people in all areas, whether it’s education, helping people write resumes and apply for jobs, etc. You can help people in so many different ways.

Above all, get started! You have nothing to lose. The feeling you get from helping people is unmatched and I wish everyone could experience it. You can also have a really positive impact on the life of an individual or a group of people.

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