Deepa Rana has been a volunteer for nearly half her young life.

She started giving her time for a good cause aged just 13 when she approached her local Laligurans Youth Club in Nepal to see if they needed help.

Soon, Deepa was balancing schoolwork with other acts of kindness in her community.

“It gave me inner satisfaction,’’ she says. “I got to meet so many young people the same age as me, so it was like spending time with my friends.’’

Deepa’s drive to help others grew through her teens when she found herself drawn to programs that supported vulnerable young people.

But it was when she and her husband moved to Adelaide last year that volunteering assumed new significance in Deepa’s life.

Through Volunteering SA, Deepa found Centacare.

After a formal recruitment process, the 29-year-old was matched to the Outer North Youth Homelessness Service, which provides case management and other supports to young people aged 15 – 25 years who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Deepa’s responsibilities include sorting donated goods, updating service data bases and liaising with property managers.

On hold due to COVID-19, Deepa says the role has helped her to feel welcome and valued in a foreign city, while also teaching her about the Australian way of life.

“After coming here, I was very down, but everyone at Centacare has been so helpful and nice,’’ she says.

“I’ve learned how the organisation works and about Australian office culture.”

“It makes my mind feel fresh and happy to learn new things.’’

Deepa, who is currently doing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Digital Management and Healthcare Management, says volunteering has shaped her as a person because of its ability to change lives.

“Volunteers have selfless hearts,’’ she says.

“They have pure intentions and help so many people, and that also helps themselves.’’

*We are currently celebrating National Volunteer Week with the theme `Changing Communities. Changing Lives.’ For more information, please visit Volunteering Australia.