“I am proud to be a volunteer for St John”

In honour of International Volunteers Week, we asked Dr Amanda Draper, the winner of Western Australia’s 2023 Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award what it’s like to volunteer with St John.

Congratulations on winning the WA Lifetime Contribution to Volunteering Award! How did you feel when you heard you had won the award?
I felt really humbled because, like with most volunteers, you don’t do this for accolades. I am supportive of anything that shines a light on all volunteers and the great work that we all do in the community. Even though I was the winner of this award, there are dozens of other valuable volunteers who are worthy of recognition, and I value being part of their experience.

What first attracted you to volunteering with St John?
I had always wanted to be involved with St John. I care about people, want to help, and have the highest respect for first responders. As a person with Anaphylaxis, I have needed the help of ambulance volunteers myself in the past and really value giving back to the community in this role.

Even though I was the winner of this award, there are dozens of other valuable volunteers who are worthy of recognition, and I value being part of their experience.

Did you have any previous volunteer experience before joining St John?
I have been a foster carer for over 20 years, I am an active volunteer with basketball (seniors and juniors), I am the volunteer President of the South West Mathematics Association (being the head of mathematics at a private school), I tutor on a volunteer basis, I have served on numerous professional boards, and I have volunteered in a fundraising capacity for many charities.

Amanda Draper

What do you enjoy the most about volunteering with St John? (What has kept you enthused about St John?)
I feel privileged to be out in the community and helping people. I can be part of a team that helps people get through their more difficult days. I feel like I am learning new skills, and as a lifelong learner, it is really important to me to be able to learn from others. I am proud to be a volunteer for St John.

Can you describe what a typical day of volunteering at St John is like?
One of the benefits of St John is that every day is different. As a teacher, I am in the ambulance for night shifts on Friday and Saturday nights. This provides a different experience every night, with young people making dangerous choices, older people needing assistance, and everything in between. It isn’t just the patients that I meet that are interesting and different; I have had the privilege of meeting many other generous and capable volunteers and paramedics who I feel valued to be working with. I would literally trust these people with my life.

What would you say is the most valuable skill you gained from your time volunteering at St John?
In addition to the medical knowledge, you learn about yourself and your community in a unique way that others don’t always see. Sometimes I get the opportunity to gain insight into others’ lives, struggles, and experiences that I would not have otherwise had.

St John is incredibly lucky to have so many volunteers, like Dr Amanda Draper, who work tirelessly to support and connect with their local communities. Today, we want to thank all volunteers around the world for everything you do for us.