Evolution Australia thought they would hang up their headsets and spend the day at The Infants Home in Ashfield. Conveniently located (just 15 min walk from the train station) with onsite parking made access to the home very easy, while being greeted by the home's Corporate Volunteer Coordinator's (Ondria Portelli) big smile made Evolution feel very welcome from the get go.
Our team of 15 were split across 2 days and each team was given a brief introduction to The Infants' Home – how it was founded and how it further developed. What started out as the first and only home in Australia for abandoned children and their unmarried mothers has since developed into a fully-integrated child and family-centred hub that is open to approx. 300 children on-site from mainstream backgrounds, while one third of their services are directed to children with additional needs or living in vulnerable circumstances, therefore providing early intervention before the children go to school.
Having not attended previously and not knowing exactly what was in store, all of Evo were required to keep an open mind but with 10 playgrounds, 5 day care centres and extensive gardens on-site, we knew we would be kept busy!
The first Evo group attended on a rainy day so much of the day was spent indoors. The activities help support and maintain The Infants' Home's operations. Matt spent time blowing up deflated sports balls, Gav cleaned the classroom dinosaurs and Lego while Carl, Oli, Ally and Kristen were washing walls and shelves, and all were later covering new children's books with protective contact.
The second group attended on a dry day so the activities were based outdoors. Shauna, Rachel, Annabel and Jen were cleaning rugs and raking up fallen leaves across The Infants' Home's vast grounds while Greg, Liam and Jordan were tasked with uprooting a well-embedded native bush that covered a 9ft x 4ft area, to make room for smaller succulents.
It was a big ask for just 3 people so we all mucked in after morning tea to get it gone…and we did!! Thankfully there was no blood, definitely lots of sweat and certainly some tears (of laughter; possibly from onlookers too)! I was very impressed with how everyone rolled up their sleeves and gave all tasks their best effort. It was great to witness some excellent team work outside of the office and everyone said it felt good to grow their social conscience and give something back to the community.
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