Steve Kiely began his professional life as a jockey before making the unlikely switch to dry cleaning.
When the local garment industry began to contract, he reskilled and worked in electronics before snaring a job at a multimedia company.
Over the next decade, he packed CDs and honed his computer and printing skills before the onset of digital music swallowed up his role.
Feeling lost, Steve, then aged 56, followed a friend’s advice and turned to volunteering.
He plucked Wandana Community Centre off a long list of options because “it was close to home’’.
“I didn’t know what a community centre was,’’ Steve (pictured) says, “but I came in and the rest is history’’.
“Now I’d describe a community centre as a place that’s welcoming, that helps people and caters for everyone.’’
Five years on, Steve spends about 11 hours each week helping computer rookies navigate the IT world in beginners’ classes each Wednesday and Friday.
“As with this day and age, there’s a lot of people left behind in that area so they are just really thankful to have some help,’’ Steve says.
“We get people bringing us cake, writing thank you cards and all sorts of things because they are just so grateful. One chappy tells me how thankful he is every week.
“It’s a good feeling helping people.’’
Besides personal satisfaction and friendships, volunteering helps keep the body and mind active, Steve says.
“It gets you out of the house to start with and it beats sitting down watching daytime TV.
“Volunteering keeps you in the community. You are always meeting people and talking about new things. They learn from me but I learn a lot from them too.’’
Steve’s role is being highlighted as part of National Volunteer Week, May 8-14. For more information, follow the #NVW2017 hashtag on social media and visit Volunteering Australia.
* The Wandana Community Centre at Gilles Plains is run for and by the local community. Welcoming people of all backgrounds, cultures, ages and gender, the centre fosters and encourages personal growth and lifelong learning. For more information, please phone 8261 8124 or drop in and say hi at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.