Vanessa Atkinson, a dedicated volunteer with an impressive history spanning around 50 years, currently contributes her time and skills to various organisations in Maryborough. Vanessa’s commitment to making a positive impact in her community is evident through her roles at the Maryborough Library, Vinnies Op Shop, and the MaryAnn Steam Train.

Having worked in roles that involved communication, listening, and supporting people throughout her career, Vanessa found a natural transition to volunteering after retirement. She shares, “Volunteering gives me self satisfaction by being a valued member of society, still using the skills I developed during my working life.”

Vanessa’s volunteer journey began in the 80s, engaging in committees for Day Cares, School P & Cs, TAFE Governing Council, and contributing to the 2000 Sydney Olympics torch relay in the Pilbara North, WA. She continued her volunteerism in Far North QLD and Maryborough, serving with the Hospital Auxiliary.

Currently, Vanessa plays crucial roles at Vinnies Op Shop, Maryborough Library, and the MaryAnn Steam Train. At the op shop, she sells items, organises deliveries, and engages in friendly conversations with customers from all walks of life. At the library, Vanessa ensures the organised shelving of various materials, and at the MaryAnn Steam Train, she welcomes and ensures the safety of customers while selling souvenirs.

Reflecting on memorable moments, Vanessa finds joy in talking to tourists about their travels, creating common ground through shared experiences.

Volunteering has not only catered to her extroverted and outgoing personality but has also given her a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

When asked about advice for potential volunteers, Vanessa suggests talking to current volunteers to understand their experiences and motivations.

“Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose, an aim in life, makes you feel valuable, and the feeling of being able to contribute to the area,” she notes.

Vanessa’s enduring commitment to volunteerism stands as an inspiration, showcasing the positive impact individuals can make when contributing selflessly to their communities.