Jess has been volunteering with Weave since 2017.

Read on to find out about her journey volunteering with Weave.

Jess first found out about the Driving Change Program when she attended an information session in her capacity as a Legal Aid staff member. The talk was about reducing the number of Aboriginal road death tolls, and Weave was one of the presenters.

She remembers the moment well: 

“I just turned to my boss and said ‘I think I just found my volunteer job.’”

Before coming to Weave, Jess spent five years volunteering as a Lifeline crisis telephone counsellor, and also volunteered abroad. She currently volunteers as a mentor for new lawyers at the Law Society.

“I’ve always had a strong commitment to volunteering,” she says, “So when I came back from overseas I was looking around to figure out what my volunteer job should be — and that’s how I found Weave!”

While volunteering with the Driving Change program, Jess has had three long-term students, and has recently been supporting a fourth student to complete the last 20 hours of their night driving. 

When Jess decided to volunteer with Driving Change, she already knew about Weave’s services, having referred her Legal Aid clients to various programs.

– Jess volunteers for Weave’s Driving Change Program because she has seen the difference it can make in a person’s life.

“I already had a strong sense of what the organisation was capable of — how well run everything is, and how dedicated the staff are.”

“My job is quite intense,” she says, “But I didn’t like the idea of volunteering at soup kitchen, I needed something that was one-on-one and very practical.”

Although teaching people to drive can sound quite hair-raising, Jess has really enjoyed the experience and found opportunities for fun adventures with her students.

“One of my students was a massive fan of Home and Away,” she recalls, “So one day I took her for a driving lesson to Palm Beach and visited the set of the show, without telling her where we were going. That was a fun surprise!”

There are also very practical benefits to the program: “I’ve had people who have managed to clear their fines through continuing with their lessons,” she says.

To people who are interested in volunteering with Driving Change, Jess says:

“Sign up. It’s a really great way to support people in the community and learn some of your own skills in patience and understanding — as well as help other people.”

“Leanne and Calida look after us really well,” she continues. “We have nice little get-togethers from time to time, and that’s fun.”

And for those who are worried about teaching others to drive, Jess admits there is one thing she’s scared of when giving driving lessons — “the other drivers!” she laughs.