CareSouth Aunties & Uncles volunteer mentor creates special connection

“There’s a place for everyone in the world of volunteering,” says CareSouth Aunties & Uncles volunteer Lesley, and we couldn’t agree more!

Today marks the start of National Volunteer Week 2024. This year’s theme is ‘Something For Everyone,’ and reflects the diverse passions and talents CareSouth’s volunteer mentors in our Aunties & Uncles program share with those they support.

Aunties & Uncles connects children, young people and families with carefully matched volunteers who provide guidance and mentoring through simple acts of kindness and small moments of support. Lesley, who signed up to join the Aunties & Uncles program two years ago, loves to go camping with the young person she supports.

Volunteering had always been on Lesley’s radar, so when she saw an advertisement on television for CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles program, she knew it was the right fit for her. 

“I have grandkids of my own, but they don’t live nearby, so this program offered a bit of a grandkid substitute for me,” laughed Lesley. “I really like spending time with young people and sharing my experiences and knowledge with them, and Aunties & Uncles was the perfect opportunity to do this.”

Lesley is very active and, after working in schools for years, knows it can sometimes be difficult to get kids off devices and outdoors. So when she was linked with a young girl in the Aunties & Uncles program, Lesley suggested the pair do activities together that would push them both outside their comfort zone.


“I’m encouraging her to do a lot of outdoor things and she seems to really love that,” says Lesley. “We go swimming, to the park, rollerblading and bike riding. Once, when we were bike riding, we rode past a caravan park, and I asked if she had ever been camping before. She hadn’t, so I said, ‘Why don’t we go camping one day’. She loved the idea, so I dug out the tent and booked us into a caravan park.” 

The youngster helped Lesley put up the tent, learned how to cook sausages on the barbecue, got up early to watch a sunrise, and found a starfish in rockpools while the pair were beachcombing.”

“Many of these things she had never done before. I want to give her experiences she might not otherwise have; that’s what Aunties & Uncles is all about. It’s great to see her enjoy new things and find joy in things she hasn’t tried before. It fills my cup.”

Lesley’s experience as an Aunties & Uncles volunteer mentor has resulted in a truly special connection that goes beyond just being a mentor.

If you want to learn more about joining CareSouth’s Aunties & Uncles program as a volunteer mentor, visit or call 1300 554 260.