National student volunteer week: Volunteering in aged care

Alana and Lorna sharing a moment

Alana Leahy, a Year 11 student at Mercy College Chatswood, began volunteering at HammondCare Wahroonga, as part of her pursuit of the gold Duke of Edinburgh International Award.

Alana’s companionship has had a profound impact, particularly on 103-year-old Lorna Howard, with activities such as board games and heartfelt conversations. “One thing that surprised me is the sheer fun I’ve had,” Alana shared.

Her fluency in Italian, gained from a recent six-week visit to Italy, enriched the final days of an Italian resident, who had a storied career as a documentary and film-maker. This poignant connection added to the resident’s quality of life before his recent passing.

Approximately 10 high school students like Alana dedicate their time to HammondCare’s aged care homes, fostering an intergenerational bond that both parties find enriching.

Belinda Holst, Head of Volunteer Services at HammondCare, praised the symbiotic relationship, noting how residents appreciate the vitality of young volunteers while students gain valuable life lessons and skills.

Alana’s choice of HammondCare Wahroonga was driven by her personal connection, as her grandmother is a resident and her grandfather volunteers as a pianist for the residents’ SingSong program. Through this experience, Alana has learned essential skills like patience and optimism, recognising the profound impact a heartfelt conversation can have on brightening someone’s day.

If you would like to explore volunteering opportunities with HammondCare, go to


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