Jigsaw celebrates 40 years of volunteers
3 May 2016
Acknowledging the commitment of volunteers for National Volunteer Week (9 to 15 May) is
even more significant than ever in Jigsaw Queensland’s 40th anniversary year.
President of Jigsaw, Dr Trevor Jordan said volunteers are the backbone of the organisation
and are responsible for its very existence.
'Jigsaw was formed by volunteers 40 years ago to host contact registers for members of
the adoption triad. At the time people didn’t have the same access to identifying information
that they do now,' Dr Jordan said.
'Forty years ago contact registers were the only way adoptees and their original families
could identify and contact each other. Without Jigsaw volunteers to facilitate that process,
there wouldn’t have been any hope for these people.
'Because of the advocacy work of these volunteers and others in the community to change the legislation in Queensland, we now have far greater access to identifying information. Jigsaw has gone on to support more than 50,000 people with their search and reunion and exploring their adoption experience.'
Jigsaw volunteer Heather H is this year celebrating her 16th year of voluntary service with the organisation and credits her desire to become involved to the benefits she herself derived from Jigsaw.
'I joined Jigsaw in 1999 as a mother who had reconnected with her first born, who was seeking support,' Heather said.
'Initially I attended the open support group meetings and then the mother’s group before putting my hand up to volunteer in 2000.
'I was so scared when I first began, but a friend advised me not to do it for Jigsaw, but for myself. That changed my perspective and I began to see the experience in a different light.
'I completed a helping skills course and began the process of learning how to support people. It was then that I started to gain as much from my volunteer experience as I was giving.'
In addition to answering phones and performing administrative tasks, Heather also facilitates the mother’s support group.
'Volunteering for Jigsaw has helped me enormously with my own personal journey,' she said.
'Listening to the experiences of others and what they have done or how they deal with things—I am able to see what may or may not work for me also.
'When I come to work, everyone I speak with has been touched by and/or understands the adoption experience and there is a comforting shorthand that comes with that, that doesn’t exist outside these doors.
'I would recommend volunteering with Jigsaw to anyone affected by adoption, but I do recommend they don’t do it at the beginning of their own journey.
'Volunteering after you have already done some exploring yourself, will take you further down the track of your own healing.
'I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my 16 years as a volunteer. I don’t do it for any form of glory or a title; I do it because it feels wonderful to help someone who is in need and to support him or her as they turn a negative into a positive. It is very fulfilling.'
Dr Jordan said it is volunteers like Heather who started Jigsaw and have allowed it to continue to provide the high level of support and assistance it has become renown for in the post-adoption community.
If you would like to volunteer for Jigsaw Queensland, please contact us on (07) 3358 6666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Dr Jo-Ann Sparrow – 0438 309 096
Heather celebrates her 16th year volunteering for Jigsaw.