For Damien Ha, his time with the Society has shown him the capacity generosity has to change lives.
Having joined during his final years in high school and still in university, it’s only been a few years but he’s been heavily involved during that time.
Damien has already been co-ordinator of the Sydney University Night Patrol Team, President of the Sydney University Conference, and is now the Marketing and Communications Advisor for the Society’s Youth Team.
He says one of his strongest memories of volunteering with the Society came early.
“It was probably one of the first times I went out on Night Patrol.
“I was on the beverages in this particular one, I was serving out Milo, coffee, or tea and there was this one particular family – a dad and his three children.
“They were three small daughters.
“They all just politely asked for a cup of Milo and they were so happy as well when they received the Milo.
“They couldn’t have been older than eight.
“Seeing just the dad and his three daughters out there late at night in Martin Place, that’s not something that you usually see or something that’s right to see – to see them in the cold like that, coming all the way out here for a cup of Milo,” he says.
Damien says he thinks his own experience in life is what drives him to give of his own time.
“Probably, a big part of volunteering with Vinnies is probably just the values that I’ve grown up with.
“My parents’ background – they grew up in poverty and always taught me to be grateful for everything I have.
“Perhaps that’s inspired me to make a difference in other people’s lives as they have in mine,” he says.
Another factor that keeps him engaged with the Society is the people it has introduced him to.
“It’s a lot of fun!
“Just being with people that share the same goal in that sense.
“With Vinnies, going out on those volunteering programs, let’s say Night Patrol, we’re all there for the same reason – to help the people that we serve.
“Whether that be through physical help like giving them food and beverages or maybe it’s just social help in having a conversation with them.
“I think it’s definitely a massive rewarding factor being part of Vinnies, just being with people that share that common goal.”
Damien describes his time with the Society as a rewarding experience and encourages others to join in.
“It’s something so different and meaningful compared to normal things we would do in our everyday lives.
“We wake up, we go to work or we study, and then maybe we go back home and just repeat day in, day out.
“But Vinnies, I suppose, provides that outlet to be able to make some meaningful change that I can’t do in other parts of my life,” he says.