News & Events
Volunteer Week Profile Pete Zawacki
February 19, 2016
During National Volunteer Week (9-15 May) OCAV pays tribute to Pete Zawacki, a volunteer at the Leith Park village in St Helena, for his contribution to the village community.
Pete Zawacki drove to Leith Park twice a week to visit his mother, Helen, until her death a year ago. After she died he wanted to honour her memory and ‘repay’ the kindness staff showed her. So he decided to keep going back. Every second Thursday Pete, from Oak Park travels to Leith Park, volunteering his time to help run the men’s group and to be ‘on call’ for anyone who needs computer support.
Leith Park is Pete’s first foray into volunteering and he is thoroughly enjoying his fortnightly visits. He doesn’t feel like he does anything extraordinary, but he enjoys chatting to the people he meets there.
Each fortnight about a dozen men gather for the men’s group playing games, making things or even enjoying a bit of music trivia. He took along 1940s and 1950s music and turned it into a quiz game.
“Some of the men are a bit reluctant to come because of mobility issues or because they find it a bit hard and need a bit of encouragement. But once we are all there we have fun, tell a few stories and have a lot of laughs,” Pete said.
Pete, who runs his own web design and support business enjoys offering ‘tech’ advice to residents who have computer problems, or who want to join Facebook or other social media.
“Some of the people want to join Facebook because it is a great way to keep in touch with family or to see pictures of grandchildren,” he said.
Pete said the staff at Leith Park were very kind to his mother and kept her safe, though the last couple of years of her life were very difficult. Many of the residents still remember her and often refer to him warmly as Helen’s son.
For the last couple of years Pete has also volunteered to help set up for and serve lunches at the Leith Park Christmas lunch. He was thrilled this year when his 18-year old daughter, Rhianna, joined him.
“I don’t do much; I just chat to a few people and show them respect. They enjoy it and it makes me happy.”
Sanctuary is how artist Gillian Coates describes her home at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa. “When I go to Melbourne and I am heading back to Euroa, I can’t wait to get home to the peacefulness of this place. It is like a sanctuary for me."