Born and raised in Wellington, Edward is the second child of five. You have probably seen his amazing smile at our Newtown Op shop while he works diligently behind the counter oras he helps answer your questions. We have been lucky to have Edward with us for close to 7 months now and his progress has been astounding.
What you may not have noticed, is that at the age of 4, Edward was diagnosed with autism. It wasn’t until he was 6 years old that Edward began talking. But his family, and in particular his mother Christine, offered endless support and believed in him. Often quite unsocial and shy, in January his mother approached our Newtown shop manager asking whether they needed volunteers as she believed this would help Edward come out of his shell. Our manager agreed to take Edward on a trial basis.
During that trial week, Edward showed himself to be task-oriented, organised and creative. Edward was strong enough to help organise and shift through the heavy furniture upstairs, and had a delicate touch with the display areas. Obviously he had found his niche!
I asked Edward what his favourite part about volunteering for Vinnies was, and he replied “It’s the people! 1/2 of it is the staff and volunteers that I work with and the other 1/2 are the customers and regulars.” He loves interacting with all of them now, and as mentioned before, his smile lights up the entire shop.
So why Vinnies and not some other shop? Well, Edward had an answer for that too. He told me “I understand completely what it is like to have nothing,” and volunteering here, he is able to help others who were in a similar situation.
Beyond shop work, Edward has been certified to do electrical testing for the shops and assists the van drivers in supporting the 7 other op shops in Wellington. He is incredibly proud of what he has accomplished in such a short time–but his mother is even more proud! In terms of future, Edward has set goals and dreams for himself. Currently he is working on a small make over of the shop and he dreams of being a manager one day. And all this, he wants to clarify is all because of his mum and her support.
We are so thankful to have Edward as a volunteer and can’t wait to see all the good he will continue to do! Thank you for agreeing to be a part of Volunteer Spotlight Edward!