THURSDAY 19 MAY 2022
In honour of National Volunteer Week's 2022 Theme: Better Together, we are celebrating our amazing volunteers!
Our volunteers provide an integral service within Miracle Babies Foundation, helping many families through their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Special Care Nursery (SCN) journey and throughout their pre-school years, and in raising awareness and much needed funds. They are the lifeblood of our organisation and without them, we would not be able to continue our work across Australia.
Miracle Babies Foundation volunteers come from all walks of life, yet they share one common goal of providing "better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness."
Many of our volunteers work in our Sydney Head Office, generously donating their time to assemble our NurtureProgram Resources including our NICU Survival Packs, Emergency Care Packs, Grad Bags, Milk Express Packs, and Memory Boxes. Our resources are developed by parents themselves who have had a premature or sick baby and work toward supporting, educating and empowering families from admission, discharge, bereavement and the transition to home.
Our incredible nationwide volunteers also donate their time on a regular basis to ensure our NurtureProgram Services (NurtureTime and NurtureGroup) are running on a regular basis.
In honour of National Volunteer Week's 2022 Theme: Better Together, our NurtureProgram Volunteers Rachel, Claire and Karlie share their personal experiences and motivations for volunteering with Miracle Babies Foundation:
Rachel, Mum to 2 Miracle Babies (assists with NurtureTime on a fortnightly basis)
“I have been a NurtureTime volunteer for Miracle Babies since 2019. When my son was in the neonatal unit (12 years ago) I felt like I had entered a strange new world; one I was not familiar with. I would have benefited from having someone talk to me, let me know that what I was feeling was normal and where I could go to find resources if I needed them. That feeling of isolation and vulnerability is my motivation to volunteer; I don’t want anyone to feel as alone as I did.
I love talking to the families in the neonatal unit. To know that I have armed the families with empathy (through NurtureTime), ways to find more information and support if needed (through NurtureLine and the Miracle Babies Website), and a way to expand their network (through NurtureGroup) makes me feel like I make a positive difference to their experience.
The theme of National Volunteer week is Better Together, which is central to why I chose to volunteer in the hospital. My personal experience in neonates and subsequent mental health struggles inspire my need to connect with families. I want them to know that they are not alone and have options to be with others on this journey. It is always better when you have someone else to share your experiences with – together".
Claire (currently runs our Westmead Hospital NurtureTime)
“I love to give back to my community, meet amazing new people and I find it humbling to know I may have just helped that person just that little bit more. In particular, volunteering for the Miracle Babies Foundation is the most rewarding work I could ever ask to be a part of!
What this foundation stands for, the lovely people that are brave to be fellow volunteers, the support that is provided to such a niche clientele, and the family Miracle Babies Foundation creates for every type of family out there at their absolute worst time in life. I find this volunteer work dear to my heart as it is all about supporting families, carers, and even grandparents that have experienced having a baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or a Special Care Nursery!
I too spent a terrifying, worrying and stressful 3 month stay in a NICU with my son when he was first born. I believe I was blessed that I had time to prepare myself about the long stay I would have when I was told my son would be born with disabilities during pregnancy. It was still tough even though I prepared myself for the long haul ahead. During that time I met so many other families going through that journey with me, some expected to be in the NICU and some that were given the news at the birth.
All of us in there for different reasons, all of us waiting on baited breath for news from doctors, all of us pushing ourselves to be by our babies' cribs with their millions of tubes, wires and machines, all of us smiling when our child made slight improvement or milestone in their own way, and all of us giving every last ounce of our souls to fight for our babies' survival!
Like I said it is a tough journey! Being able to be on the other side of it all 8 years down the track it puts a lot of things in perspective. It makes you grow up and mature quickly. I was only 17/18 years old dealing with this initially and to be truthful I thought it was the end of the world going through it. Knowing how much I struggled with that journey pushed me to want to help others going through similar circumstances! When I seen volunteer work going with Miracle Babies Foundation I knew I needed to help these amazing families!
The strength, bravery, and resilience from these amazing babies and their families is phenomenal! To be a part of their support and resources in the hospital as well as when they finally are able to leave the hospital is an absolute joy! Seeing babies that may have been told “they won't make it” or “their quality of life won't be great” and seeing that these kids are smashing goals and massive milestones just makes me so proud! When you get to be included in something like this it is special and ever so rewarding!
I treasure every moment and every achievement! I am proud to be a volunteer and I encourage others out there to volunteer too! It's an experience that will never leave you!
I want to also thank every person that volunteers and specifically mention the lovely volunteers that are a part of The Miracle Babies Foundation! You guys are some of the bravest and strongest people out there to have gone through a similar journey but have the same ambition to help others get through the worst! Everyone is amazing in their own way. The choices we make to live our lives each day should be good ones. Just remember sometimes all it takes is a smile, a nice gesture, or a simple question of “are you okay?” to make someone's day better!".
Karlie (meets with families on a regular basis at our Newcastle NurtureGroup)
I volunteer for Miracle Babies which is an organisation that provides support through NurtureTime, to parents with premature and sick newborn babies who are in, or have been in, Neonatal Intensive or Special Care. They also provide in-community NurtureGroups for families to gather and share experiences, as well as a 24-hour helpline (NurtureLine) and on-line sessions (NurtureOnline) for families in more remote or regional areas.
I wanted to give my time to an organisation, one that had similar values and goals important to me. I wanted to use my skills, personal experience and attributes in an organisation that is focused on making a genuine impact in the lives of families that they support.
The medical professionals who work in Neonatal Intensive Care are truly amazing, but they have a huge workload and a distinct job to do. I know from personal experience that having a premature or sick baby is very scary, confronting, isolating and emotional. Being able to provide support to these families is incredibly fulfilling. Creating a space for talking, listening, empathy, and information sharing, can make a difficult time a little easier. Being able to work with these amazing, inspiring families is the reason I continue to volunteer.
This can be a challenging environment in which to work, and I really value the professionalism, care and support that is provided by the Miracle Babies organisation and its amazing, empathic staff".
On behalf of Miracle Babies Foundation, we would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all our generous Volunteers across Australia. We could not be able to deliver our vision for 'achieving better, healthier outcomes for premature and sick newborns and their families' without your support.