Sailors with disABILITIES

Volunteer Interview with Ruth Lilian OAM

We are delighted to introduce one of our most dedicated volunteers of the past 12 months, Ruth Lilian OAM. You may have met Ruth at the Making Waves Regatta or you may have communicated online during your membership application process. Ruth is a tour de force, volunteering not just with SWD, but in many organisations across Sydney.

In this interview you will find out what motivated Ruth volunteer with SWD and a little about her role. 

What was your motivation for volunteering with SWD?

I had some additional time on my hands. I’ve always worked full time and now I work part time.  I was looking at all the organisations that might interest me and through Volunteering NSW I saw the call for volunteers for SWD.

Water has always been a peaceful environment for me and I felt I could offer my services as an off-water volunteer rather than an on-water volunteer as I don’t have any sailing skills.

What about volunteering with SWD off-water is rewarding for you?

I feel part of the organisation although I am a volunteer. I have a role to play and I am very motivated to do what I do and very committed to keeping it up to date and being able to hopefully empower more members to come into the organisation through the role I play with membership.

What is your role?

I coordinate all membership applications and see them through with all the varying documentation that is required and build relationship with prospective members as they are going through the membership process.

I also look after the donor program for all donations coming through to the organisation. It’s very rewarding to do both roles for the organisation.

What is it like being off-water behind the scenes?

I think the role I play off-water is just as important as the on water. Without me processing all the membership applications, we won’t have the on-water volunteers. So, I am very happy to play that role and, every now and again, I can go out and sail with the on-water volunteers.

What would you say to other people considering volunteering on water or off-water with SWD?

This is an amazing organisation.  David Pescud had such a vision and he has motivated so many people over the years since he commenced the organisation. I would suggest to anybody who has some time on their hands during the week and would love to do something for children who are not as able bodied as all of us to come and learn more about SWD.

I was just overwhelmed and absolutely thrilled to know that a S2H yacht has gone out for the 22 years with a disabled crew on board. I mean, how special is that.

I think when we see what the kids are doing when we come on a sail and the other programs we have for children who maybe come from disadvantaged circumstances—it’s just wonderful to see the improvement in these kids.

If you would like to learn some new skills or use what you already have and know, as well as do something for the community at the same time, have a look at the SWD website and sign up - it will provide an amazing experience for all.

Learn more about volunteering with SWD here. 

Ruth Lilian OAM