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It’s National Volunteer Week! – 8-14 May

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In this article we feature one of Diversicare’s dedicated volunteers, Bert Van Dyk.

Bert Van Dyk is no newcomer to volunteering and spends up to four hours a week giving his time to help others. He assists with a variety of activities such as transportation and respite activities. As part of Diversicare’s Community Visitor’s Scheme (CVS), Bert visits a resident of an aged care home on the Southside.

The CVS is a program where volunteer community visitors, from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds visit residents in aged care facilities who are from similar CALD backgrounds – to combat social isolation and establish friendships.

Bert has been a Diversicare CVS volunteer for the last four and a half years and currently visits a 93 year old Dutch lady, Nora*.

Once a fortnight, they converse in Dutch, (his native tongue) and English and he says she always enjoys his visits.

“We just chat; even though she’s 93 she’s mentally alert and we talk for about two hours.” he said.

Bert was born in Leeuwarderadeel, Netherlands and went to primary school in Indonesia (or the Dutch East Indies as it was known then). He returned to the Netherlands after high school before migrating to Australia in his 30s.

He settled in Toowoomba to be closer to his sister and brother-in-law. Bert ran a cleaning business for 34 years before retiring and then moving to Brisbane with his wife to be closer to family. And that’s when he started volunteering.

Bert says that the most rewarding aspect of his volunteer role is interacting with people and connecting with his fellow Dutch citizens.

“I’m a real people person and I like to keep busy. My other hobbies include being involved in a radio club and pistol shooting. That’s me”, he said.

*Name has been changed

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Australian Government Department of Health. Visit the Department of Health website for more information.  www.health.gov.au