Prove your humanity

Grok Magazine sits down with Louise Kaestner, a first-year Bachelor of Arts student majoring in Creative Writing, to learn more about her experience as being a valuable member of Curtin Volunteers!. 

Louise has been volunteering for Curtin Volunteers! since July 2022 by assisting them twice a week. 

She previously volunteered for the State Emergency Service during her twenties, and is currently volunteering for a variety of Australian organisations such as the Department of Parks and Wildlife, Cahoots and THRIVE

Louise also works as a casual mental health support worker outside of Curtin University. 

When asked about why she started volunteering, Louise admits that she spent a lot of her life wasting time and energy in places where she didn’t belong, and believed that needed to change. 

“Don’t laugh, but I contacted my astrologer when I got back from a nightmare holiday at the beginning of 2022 to find out what kind of volunteering would go with my energy field and path.”

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

We ask Louise about the sort of duties she’s expected to take on as a Curtin Volunteer.

“Showing up for shifts is the main priority. Being reliable and a person who keeps their word is important,” she says. 

“This semester, I’ve listened to children read and encouraged disabled children to participate in the community. I also spent a beautiful day at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre as a part of volunteering.”

Louise describes her experience as a Curtin Volunteer to be very positive.

“The most enjoyable part about being a volunteer is simply volunteering. The events and get-togethers with other volunteers during the semester are always fun!”

However, she still wishes that she had extra time to volunteer more for Curtin Volunteers! and other non-profit organisations. 

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

Louise shares with us how she balances her volunteering workload with her studies or commitments outside of Curtin University.

“I have no idea. I simply manage,” she laughs.

“In all seriousness, time management is the most valuable skill. It needs to be coupled with self-discipline and accountability for yourself.”

Recently, Louise was rewarded with a certificate for being the Curtin Volunteer of Semester 1 2023. 

“[It was] embarrassing and awesome,” she expresses.

“I’ve never gotten an award for being outstanding at anything, even when I’m standing outside — I swear, I’m average. My face went red, and my eyes got a little teary.” 

In addition to being part of Curtin Volunteers!, Louise is also the 2023 President for Curtin Writers Club. She also intends to take on an editorial role for the club this year, and shares with us her plans for the future. 

“Becoming a rich and famous author, and entertaining people with my weird, wacky and wild stories,” she says.

“I’d love to have a full-time job somewhere. I want to keep helping people too.” 

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

Finally, we ask Louise if she has any advice for Curtin University students who are interested in joining Curtin Volunteers! or who are planning on volunteering in general.

“Join Curtin Volunteers! The staff are awesome. The senior leaders, leaders and other volunteers are marvellous people to work with, as they all bring their own experiences, stories and personalities to the table. You get to have experiences you wouldn’t normally have, and sometimes you go to places where you normally wouldn’t go in your day-to-day life,” she describes.

“Volunteering anywhere is well worth a person’s time and effort. It goes beyond what you can put on a resume. It builds confidence, time management skills, teaches you to be responsible and accountable, and you get to meet many wonderful and beautiful people.”