Volunteering and other ways to contribute to your community

Volunteering is a great way to contribute to your community, use your particular skills to help others and to meet people who share your interest and commitment to a stronger community.

The many community groups in our area rely on volunteers to do their essential work.  Listed below are some that we know about.  We encourage you to tell us about your organisation.


123 Read 2 Me” is an organization that collects thousands of used children books, stores them in a warehouse , then distributes them free of charge to children.

The founder of 123Read2Me, Melinda Shelley understands that babies and children need books to have a real chance in life. Many families are finding it difficult to assess books for their children, with schools having limited supplies and the cost of purchasing books are out of reach for many families.

Ms Shelley sought the help of the Blackburn Lions Club to find a permanent warehouse for sorting and despatch of books.  The books are currently stored in a temporary warehouse and Melinda has asked that we spread the word to find something more permanent.

Go to their website here to find out more about 123Read2Me and how you can become involved.

Palms Australia

Palms Australia is a small not-for-profit international development organisation which aims to reduce global poverty.  We recruit, prepare and send skilled Australians overseas to provide valuable skill exchange and mentoring to local staff.

Wanting to share your skills with communities in the Pacific, Asia or Africa to help develop self-reliance and sustainable solutions to poverty?  Maybe an overseas professional placement with Palms is for you?

To find out more about the the work of Palms Australia and ways you can become involved, go here.

Embrace Education

We are a non-profit, university student-run organisation that offers free educational support to disadvantaged high school students in Melbourne, Victoria.  Our mission is to empower more disadvantaged students and we need your help.

Our organisation was started in 2006 by Emil Kogan, with a group of other Monash University students. We obtained Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status in 2009.  Due to the success of our Monash University chapter (South East), we established our University of Melbourne chapter (North West) in 2016.


Our main focus is on providing students from refugee, asylum seeker, recent migrant and low socioeconomic backgrounds with free tutoring. We also provide textbooks, calculators, stationery and other items to students in need.

We are calling out to thoughtful individuals who want to share their knowledge and aptitude to become tutors and lift the learning abilities of disadvantaged students around Melbourne.

We also seek your financial support.  Every donation makes a difference in a student’s life. We are extremely grateful for every support and assistance we receive from our community.

Your donations will go towards strengthening Embrace Education’s impact, such as tutor recruitment and training, coordinating the programs and helping supply resources to students and tutors.

Anyone interested in tutoring or sponsoring Embrace Education  is invited to contact:

Jack Petereit, President – South East Chapter

Email:  president.monash@embrace-education.org;


Mobile: 0426210558

Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Calling for volunteers to combat social isolation amongst seniors

Balwyn Evergreen Centre, a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected, is calling on Australian businesses to step up and actively involve their employees in the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS).

This vital initiative, funded by the Australian Federal Government, seeks to address the growing issue of social isolation among older Australians.

A call to action for businesses

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is urging businesses to actively involve their staff in the Aged Care Volunteer Visitors Scheme (ACVVS) by incorporating volunteer hours into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

By encouraging employees to dedicate just one hour every fortnight to volunteer, businesses can enhance their CSR efforts and play a crucial role in improving the wellbeing of older individuals. This initiative not only supports older adults but also fosters a more engaged, empathetic, and connected workforce, offering significant benefits to both the community and the company.

The value of volunteering

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO of Balwyn Evergreen Centre, says, ‘By engaging in volunteer activities, employees become socially connected to the organisation and the community. This connection amplifies the health and happiness of the workforce. Employees not only give back but also continue to develop crucial soft skills such as empathy, communication, and teamwork.’


Building connections and enhancing wellbeing

The ACVVS pairs trained volunteers with older individuals to provide companionship and support, directly aligning with Balwyn Evergreen’s mission to keep older people active, healthy and socially engaged.

Ms. Hogarth-Clarke says, ‘Social isolation can lead to poor mental and physical health outcomes. Regular visits help build meaningful connections, making a real difference in each other’s lives.’

Business benefits

Businesses that encourage their staff to volunteer through the ACVVS can expect to see several benefits:

  • Enhanced employee morale: volunteering boosts employee morale and job satisfaction, leading to a happier and more productive workforce.
  • Skill development: employees develop and refine soft skills, which are invaluable in the workplace.
  • Corporate altruism: companies that support volunteer programs enhance their community contributions and demonstrate a commitment to community wellbeing.

Join the movement

‘We are calling on businesses across Melbourne to support their employees in volunteering for the ACVVS. This program not only enriches the lives of older individuals but also brings joy and fulfillment to the volunteers. Together, we can combat social isolation and build a stronger, more connected community.’ Ms Hogarth-Clarke says.

Get involved

Businesses, friends, family members, and aged care providers are encouraged to reach out to Balwyn Evergreen Centre to learn more about the ACVVS.  For more information or to register interest as a volunteer, contact Balwyn Evergreen Centre at 9836 9681 or visit www.balwynevergreen.org.au/aged-care-volunteer-visitors-scheme.

Balwyn Evergreen Centre

Call out for volunteer drivers


Balwyn Evergreen Centre, a community centre dedicated to ensuring that older individuals stay active, healthy and socially connected, is urgently seeking volunteer drivers to help transport seniors in the City of Boroondara. The centre relies solely on the generous contribution of time and skills from volunteers to continue providing vital services.

Who we are

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is a cornerstone of the community, offering a range of exercise and social activities designed to support the well-being of older adults. Our vibrant community centre is a place where seniors can stay engaged, make new friends, and participate in activities that promote their physical and mental health.

The need

Our clients depend on volunteer drivers to safely bring them from their homes to the centre for essential services. We are currently experiencing an urgent need for volunteer transport drivers for weekday pickups (minivan or car, short shifts) and Tuesday bus outings (minivan 9.30 am-4.30 pm). Full training and ongoing support are provided.

How you can help

We are calling on the community to spread the word through your networks, including members, staff, friends, and relatives. Post our flyer on your notice boards or in your newsletters. Give us a shout-out at your meetings or gatherings.

Tina Hogarth-Clarke, CEO Balwyn Evergreen Centre says, ‘Our volunteer drivers are the lifeline of our community. They ensure our seniors remain connected, active, and independent. We invite everyone to consider joining our team and making a real difference in the lives of our seniors.,

Volunteer spotlight: David Embury

David Embury became involved with Evergreen as a volunteer after seeing a request for drivers in a newsletter. With a passion for driving spanning 50 years and a background as a bus driver, David saw this as a perfect opportunity to give back to the community.

‘For me, volunteering is about filling my available time in a worthwhile way while helping the community and doing something I love. The interaction with a whole new range of people and knowing I am contributing to their well-being is incredibly fulfilling.’

David describes his typical day as a volunteer driver, from greeting clients at their homes and assisting them on and off the bus, to ensuring their walkers are securely stowed and helping with small tasks like checking their mail or bringing in their rubbish bins.

‘The support from Evergreen has been fantastic. They provide thorough training, including First Aid, and are always ready to help with any special needs of the clients. The camaraderie and friendly atmosphere make volunteering here a joy.’

David’s story highlights the profound impact volunteer drivers have on the community, enabling seniors to stay active and socially connected.

Join us:

By becoming a volunteer driver, you can experience the personal satisfaction of making a difference in someone’s life, while enjoying the sense of community and support that Balwyn Evergreen Centre offers.

Balwyn Evergreen Centre is located at 45 Talbot Ave, Balwyn. For more information and to volunteer, please use the contact form on our website at  www.balwynevergreen.org.au,