HoHA would not exist if it weren’t for the tireless efforts of our volunteers. From providing clinical treatments, helping with administration, welcoming patients into our clinics and training in programmes nationally and abroad, volunteers are the lifeblood of HoHA.
Barbara Polus, B.App.Sc. (Chiropractic), M.Sc. (Physiology), Ph.D
Barbara has a long standing connection with HoHA, with the position of CEO from March 2012 – May 2017. Her previous role was academic and researcher within the Discipline of Chiropractic, School of Health Sciences at RMIT University. She remains an active researcher with her research spanning two broad fronts, clinical neuroscience and the evaluation of health interventions (massage and spinal manipulation) delivered to marginalised and disadvantaged communities. Barb also holds the position of Chair, Human Research Ethics Committee at RMIT University.
Aly Curd (Myotherapist/Naturopath)
“I was sent to India by Hands on Health Australia in January 2016 after having volunteered at Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti (HoHA India partner) in the previous years. My skills as a Myotherapist and a Naturopath were quickly utilized by the organisation and I found myself working within remote and marginalised communities in our weekly health camps and in Jagran’s medical clinic. I was able to work alongside well-educated doctors, as well as illiterate traditional healers. I found this an ideal opportunity for me to learn from some of the most inspirational people I have ever met and in turn, I was able to teach a wide variety of health professionals (both formally educated and the illiterate) different techniques in massage and myotherapy, anatomy, pathology and nutrition. The cases I saw and the patients I have treated in my 18 months in India are like nothing that I have ever seen in my 10 years of practice in Australia and New Zealand. This is why working in these communities is such a unique opportunity to learn, develop and refine a skill set as a student and I have had the pleasure of helping to mentor students during their time at Jagran Jan Vikas Samiti. My main role at Jagran was to establish a volunteer program for international and domestic students. With the help of the HoHA Operations Manager, Gabby Lam, and the International Coordinator, Janine Castle, we were able to successfully established relationships with various Australian Universities as well as Allied Health Associations in Australia and New Zealand. In order to ensure the occupational health and safety of the participants, an Emergency Management Protocol was developed, an application process was introduced, pre-deployment meetings were conducted, and an appropriate Orientation program was implemented upon arrival in the volunteering country for all participants. The results speak for themselves. The year 2015 saw 29 international volunteers and 50 local volunteers. In 2016, there were 97 international volunteers and 75 local volunteers. This has generated an additional income for Jagran and has established a sound reputation for Hands on Health Australia with international NGO’s and humanitarian organisations, as well as gaining greater support within the Australian community. Being part of such a passionate and dedicated team has defiantly been the highlight of time working with HoHA and I look forward to continuing this relationship in the future.”
Mary Grant (Dromana Clinic Coordinator)
Hi my name is Mary and I am the co-ordinator of Dromana Hands on Health. I have done volunteering work for over 25 years and in four different countries under different circumstances: New Zealand, Thailand, China and Australia. This is my understanding of what volunteering is: V. Values O. Offer L. Love U. Understand N. Need T. Teach E. Excitement E. Energy R. Respect At Dromana I would like our clients to know that we do the volunteer break down for them so that they feel valued and in turn we benefit from it. To see them grow with strength in themselves. I believe in total package for our clients not just Chiro. Mind body and soul. We offer Chiro, tapping, naturopathy, yoga, reiki and friendship which is gained through meeting others in a place that is welcoming with a cuppa and friendly smile.
Cameron Garth (Dromana EFT Practitioner
Hello, my name is Cameron, I am taking this opportunity for you to get to know me a little better. I am a Dad, I have two amazing boys, Billy and Charlie. I am a family man, relationships are everything, I believe to everyone, we all want to feel as though we belong and are a part of something great or important to us, being a dad is my purpose and my passion, I love seeing them learn and grow and spending quality time with them. I am also very passionate about my company Subtle Health centred on healing and supporting people with anxiety and depression, emotional stress and overwhelm. Why I do what I do? Because of my experience with anxiety and depression, coming through my challenges using EFT (emotional freedom techniques) has helped me to see the importance of my feelings (emotions) and how each one of us can find ourselves through our feelings. That, it is by listening and becoming aware of what you are feeling that puts us on the path to discovering who we are and what we want to spend our lives doing. we all want to be happy. so, do what you love. and what I want to teach people and especially my boys are to learn to trust yourself, love and accept yourself. Depression for me was feeling lost, insecure, unsure, unloved and like it was hopeless, understanding my feelings and why I felt the way I did guided me to find myself and what is important to me, I found strength in understanding myself and others which helped me to forgive and accept myself. I learned that how I felt affected everything, my work life and relationships. How you feel impacts everything. Now it is my personal mission to empower people to find confidence and feel stronger in dealing with the dad to day stresses of life. know that through thy feelings comes the path, the path of true desire. ye through thy feelings you shall find. your true self and that of your true nature.
Hi, my name is Wendy, and my role as a volunteer at Dromana Hands on Health, is that of “Tea Lady.” (This term and others in this article are of the era and not meant as a put down). Before sharing how HOH has enhanced my world, I would like to take you on a short journey back in time. Before the mass uptake by most large businesses of the new, exciting automated tea and coffee machines (yuk) was the ubiquitous tea lady. Her rattling trolley and cheerful manner announced that a tea break was in the offing. Her gleaming tea, coffee and water pots were heart-warming to see. Possibly the lowest paid worker, her role was humble, however she was so very important. She was the ear for playful banter, she was the keeper of secrets, indeed she was a lovely reminder that all was right with the world. Most importantly however, she was the bringer of sustenance – “white with one thanks luv.. “my usual coffee thanks sweetie – and don’t forget to make sure the spoon can stand up in it!” Plain bikkies for the workers, cream biscuits, cake or scones with jam and cream for the bosses. Ultimately however, because of the “shiny new toy” she was let go. With all the excitement, did anyone even see her leave? No super then or no pension either. Her small wage had possibly made “all the difference” in her life. Not too maudlin I hope! Let us get back to HOH. When I first came to HOH in Dromana as a client, I was extremely ill-both emotionally and physically, and was rapidly becoming worse. However, waiting for treatments in the foyer of the old church hall, I was entranced by the dynamism, the life, of the place. Mary and Mardi and now Jenny made me laugh (and still do). It was controlled chaos! I came to look forward to Wednesdays just for the joy of the place. Ever watchful Mary it seems saw “something” in me and without knowing how, I was suddenly the tea lady! The care, the kindness and dedication extended to me by all of the practitioners and volunteers has aided my ongoing recovery to better health. As well, being able to chat with clients and see how much they value the services they receive – indeed to see many eased back to better health is wonderful. Being the tea lady gives me great pleasure. We have a vintage tea trolley – its wheels squeak and it wheels better sideways! It is battle scarred but not weary! My aim is always to create an interesting and tasteful experience for clients – to extend to them from our team that we care intensely for them – that a visit to HOH is to find healing, solace and sustenance (thanks Mary for the cream bikkies and milk: thanks Mardi for the fruit) Giving without expectation of return is the greatest of All gifts. This is the essence of HOH. The tea ladies of the past brought time out, a chat and sustenance. They left a legacy that I value and am delighted to continue.