Author: Ivana Pejovska

Helping kids to speak is Ivana's reward

Our Shellharbour branch Customer Service Officer Ivana Pejovska tells why she loves helping Illawarra kids gain the gift of speech through the KidzWish Speech Therapy Service.

One beautiful little child started playing the jumping game with me. Pretty soon I had eight kids all jumping and having the time of their lives, with big grins plastered on their faces. Towards the end of the session a little girl who hardly spoke said a few words and colours to me.

I was at the Mt Warrigal Pre-school for a second time when this happened. The significance for me was that all the kids were all understanding me and following instructions, reinforcing the importance of speech and communication. The other great thing about that day was that many of the kids had remembered me and greeted me with a big smile.

 My first visit to Mt Warrigal was just as amazing. Some of the kids didn't really talk. Once they got comfortable with me some of them began saying little words and small sentences. You could hear the difference in their speech after only a few short hours.

I know the value of good speech. Arriving as a migrant from Macedonia aged seven, I struggled at first to learn a new language. I needed to be able to speak to learn and to get my point across. When I first started volunteering at sessions at Ballambi Pre-School as part of the new KidzWish Mobile Speech Therapy Service, I remembered some of the exercises Jo the Speech Therapist was giving the kids from my school days. Somebody took the time to help me to learn to speak this new language and I am determined to also help some young kids have the gift of speech which will be so vital to their future.  

I have been able to share some of the experience of volunteering with my work-mates at the Branch and some of our customers. We had some fun making learning boxes for some of the schools in the mobile program. It was like we were back at school again. Our customers were keen to know what we were up to when they came in to be served.

I can’t wait for my third session with the kids at Mt Warrigal so I can see again how much they have progressed.

I have always loved kids. The chance to volunteer through work to help KidzWish help the beautiful little kids has been l amazing. It is so rewarding to give something back. I am also learning so much about teaching kids and speech. It will be very handy when I have kids of my own.

If you get a chance to volunteer for an organisation like KidzWish my advice is take it. You will have some fun but it will also be very rewarding.

Ivana (L) with KidzSpeak Speech Pathologist Jo Collier in a speech therapy session at Ballambi Pre-School

Have you struggled with speech or have you volunteered for an organisation and gotten back more then you put in? Please share your stories below.

Ivana is one of a number of The Greater’s Illawarra staff who volunteer for the KidzWish Mobile Speech Therapy Service. An Australian first, this service takes speech therapy to some disadvantaged pre-schools in the area. The three year pilot of the service is being funded by the Greater Charitable Foundation with funds from the Greater Building Society. As well as provide funding, the Foundation provides opportunities for Greater staff to volunteer to support the work of its charity partners. Staff get leave from work to volunteer. It is another way we are making life greater for our staff and the local community.