Aunty Jan Williams, a dedicated volunteer at the Wide Bay Women’s Health Centre Inc’s Women’s Yarning Circle, embodies the spirit of empowerment and healing through her commitment to supporting women in their journeys. With over four years of volunteering experience, Aunty Jan’s decision to join the organisation stemmed from a deeply personal place. She explains, “I love to empower women, especially those who have survived domestic and family violence, mental health challenges, or substance abuse.” Having witnessed the struggles of family and friends who have overcome similar challenges, Aunty Jan felt drawn to contribute her time and support to those in need.

Reflecting on her impactful journey, Aunty Jan shares a memorable experience from attending the Indigenous Well Being Conference in Adelaide in 2022. Invited as an Elder/Leader of the ‘Butchulla’ community, she represented the Women’s Yarning Circle, and shared the impact it was having. This experience highlighted the importance of their work in fostering well-being and community engagement. Aunty Jan’s involvement in such events underscores the transformative impact of volunteering, not only on the recipients of support but also on the volunteers themselves.

However, it was a poignant moment with her granddaughter that truly left a lasting impression on Aunty Jan. She recounts the experience, “My 12-yearold granddaughter, who was going through troubles, joined the yarning circle. As we talked and she started to weave, I could see in her eyes that she felt heard and connected.” This instance encapsulates the power of the Women’s Yarning Circle to provide solace, support, and healing to those in need, regardless of age or background.

When asked about her advice to aspiring volunteers, Aunty Jan emphasises the importance of embracing volunteering wholeheartedly. She believes that volunteering not only aids in helping others but also facilitates personal healing and growth. “Volunteering has been enriching for me, especially in my healing journey after losing my son,” she explains. Aunty Jan’s journey demonstrates how volunteering can be a catalyst for personal transformation, offering a sense of purpose, connection, and fulfillment.

Through her commitment to empowering women and fostering healing, Aunty Jan embodies the transformative potential of volunteering, enriching lives and creating positive change.