This week, CatholicCare celebrated its key annual volunteer event – The Richard Stone Award. For the first time ever, this event was run remotely via Zoom video conference.

RSA 2020 event screenshot article image
Screenshot from the 2020 Richard Stone Award Presentation event.

The significance of the Richard Stone Award reflects the legacy of Richard Stone, who was an invaluable volunteer and member of the CatholicCare board. Richard’s passion and dedication to CatholicCare’s mission was a shining example of selflessness and community participation.

CatholicCare had five nominees who were nominated for their dedication and excellence in volunteering over the last 18 months. The nominees displayed a wonderful cross-section of our volunteers and their important work in supporting services and clients. This year’s nominees were:

  • Olivia Shanahan. Olivia is a volunteer English Conversation Group Facilitator at the Eltham Refugee Housing Project.
  • Robert Roseborough. Robert has been a Prison Chaplaincy Support volunteer at Marngoneet and Barwon prisons for 16 years.
  • Matilda Hannah. Matilda volunteers with the Fusion Youth Justice Program, working with the young people at the Youth Justice Centre in Parkville.
  • Ann Clark. Ann is a volunteer tutor at the Refugee Wyndham Homework Tutoring Group.
  • Rima Touma. Rima has been volunteering for the past three years as a Language Translator and Group Facilitator for the Eltham Refugee English Conversation and IT Skills & Support Programs.

While all five nominees displayed outstanding commitment as volunteers, CatholicCare was proud to announce this year’s recipient of the award was Rima Touma.

Rima has shown excellence and dedication in her volunteer service among refugees and vulnerable migrants at the Eltham Housing Project, complementing the great work CatholicCare does among refugee communities and for vulnerable migrants.

Rima has walked this path herself as refugee, and she has clearly embodied CatholicCare values of Compassion, Inclusion, Dignity and Responsibility in her dedicated service to the refugee residents at the Eltham Housing Project. For this we are deeply grateful, and we thank Rima for her outstanding contribution.

This year, CatholicCare’s Richard Stone Award presentation was timed in alignment with International Volunteer Day on 5 December. This international day is set by the United Nations to provide an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the millions of volunteers worldwide. Among them are the volunteers who are so integral to the work of CatholicCare.

This years’ theme for International Volunteer Day is Together We Can through Volunteering. This is especially fitting for Richard Stone, as he was a great team player and carried an unwavering ‘can do’ approach to improving communities.

CatholicCare volunteers give generously of their time and talents, enabling us to extend our support to those who are on the margins of society. It goes without saying that both CatholiCare programs and clients benefit enormously from volunteers.

The impact of COVID19 saw many of CatholicCare’s volunteer programs suspended from April until the present time. While this remains a challenge, the last financial year (July 2019 – June 2020) showed stellar results from volunteers.

During the 2020 financial year, CatholicCare had the support of 210 registered volunteers (66 of which were newly recruited) contributing a total of approximately 10,000 hours of combined volunteer service, across 16 programs, at an estimated value of $432,000.

Happy International Volunteer Day to all volunteers at CatholicCare! We look forward to having you return to volunteer work when it is safe to do so in early 2021.