We spoke recently to Claire, an ADF partner who volunteers with the Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc.
Tell us about the group you volunteer for and your role
Claire is the National Coordinator and Canberra Coordinator for the Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc (DSNSG). The DSNSG is a non-profit benevolent volunteer organisation established to assist Navy, Army and Air Force families with a family member with Special Needs. The group provides support, information, assistance and advocacy for all ADF families who have a dependent (child, spouse or another dependent) with Special Needs. Claire supports local families in the Canberra region who have a family member with special needs, as well as overseeing all the local Coordinators from a National perspective.
How did you start volunteering?
I was already a member of DSNSG and the group had helped us while we were going through the diagnosis stage with our youngest child. I wanted to give back and applied for the Canberra North Coordinator role when we received a posting to Canberra.
Why do you volunteer?
To help Defence families navigate the challenges that arise from having a family with Special Needs.
What does your group mean to you?
To be able to speak to someone who has been through the challenges of having a family member with special needs; the community, network and understanding is vital. It is invaluable to have others who understand what you are going through, not just with a dependent with special needs, but also as part of the wider Defence family.
Is there an event/activity that you are particularly proud of because of how it connected our Defence family community?
Our DSNSG National Conference week where we can provide feedback and advocate for families to Command and as a result, see changes and conversations about how better to assist these families.
Is there something you would like to say to others that are thinking of volunteering?
Every act, no matter how big or small will make a positive impact on someone’s life, whether you are aware of it or not.
The feeling of being able to give back to this community is very fulfilling; Doing this by helping people who are struggling and helping families connect to other Defence organisations and other families in similar circumstances.
Contact the Defence Special Needs Support Group Inc
Find out more from Defence Community Organisation about having a Special Needs family member.