Celebrating Volunteers Awareness Week: Honouring Our Dedicated Volunteers

June 20, 2024
Victoria Thompson
3 Minute Read

In celebration of Volunteer Awareness Week, we take a moment to celebrate and honour the incredible volunteers who make our community a better place.

Among the most inspiring is a dedicated group of volunteers in Masterton, consisting of young individuals and three adult support workers. This initiative began about five years ago and has since grown into a vital part of our community.

The Visionary: Doug Bracewell

Doug Bracewell is a cornerstone of the Masterton community, renowned for his tireless volunteer work across numerous sporting groups and community organisations. With a lifelong passion for parks and reserves, Doug continues to enjoy walking and running through them, appreciating the hard work that goes into maintaining these beautiful spaces. Reflecting on his time with the council, Doug recalled leading a team of young individuals from the IHC who assisted with tasks like raking leaves. This experience inspired him to extend similar opportunities to other special needs individuals.

About five years ago, Doug proposed an initiative to involve young people with special needs in maintaining the park and cemetery by cleaning up tree debris. Doug manages this initiative himself, with our team supporting by collecting and disposing of the debris. He finds immense joy in helping these young individuals learn, grow, and develop life skills. Watching them progress and eventually move into employment due to the work experience gained through this initiative fills Doug with pride. Over the years, Doug has built meaningful relationships with all his mentees, exemplifying his commitment and generosity.

Doug’s dedication to this volunteer work has been unwavering for five years, with Daniel being one of the original participants. Recently, a new adult support worker, Ed, has joined to support Daniel and others in the community.

The Educator: Sue McGhie

Sue McGhie, who works in the Special Learning Centre at Wairarapa College, is another pillar of this initiative. One of her students expressed a desire to gain work experience by cleaning graves in the old cemetery. Although this specific task was not possible, they observed Doug’s volunteer work in the park and eagerly joined the initiative.

Over the past four years, Sue has brought six students into this volunteer program. Their participation has been invaluable, providing them with practical life skills and work experience in a supportive and nurturing environment.

A Community United

As we celebrate Volunteers Awareness Week, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to Doug, Sue and Ed who contribute their time and energy to our community. Their dedication not only helps maintain our beautiful parks and reserves but also enriches the lives of the young adults, Daniel, Rhion, Cody, Sam, Harry, Will and Josh who they mentor. Through their efforts, our community becomes a more inclusive, supportive, and vibrant place for everyone.

Let’s take this opportunity to recognise and thank all volunteers for their invaluable contributions. Your work makes a difference, and we are profoundly grateful for your commitment and passion.

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