Made to pamper: a volunteer’s story

Written from a conversation with volunteer Kerry Newdick. Kerry talks about her ‘Pampering Days’.

“I remember one woman said that it was just like
an angel coming to visit… how special is that?”

Bonnie’s is my volunteer work. I bring my massage tables, my make up kit, my skin care and I call it a ‘mobile, pop-up day club’.

A lot of the ladies Bonnie’s works with have never had a pampering session before. They might never have had a facial or a massage. We sit down first and I explain really carefully what I’m going to do. The big thing for them is that they feel safe. They can start off a little apprehensive, maybe a little tense, but they relax right into it. Some of them are snoring away quite happily towards the end. It’s a lovely sight.

post-Newdick2I do believe there’s a healing power in touch, gentle touch, particularly for women who’ve been through what they’ve been through. Sometimes their bodies and faces have been used as a warring ground, so for someone to touch them gently is to feel safe and comfortable. The message that the pampering sends to women is: ‘you are worthy and you are important’. Sometimes you can actually see the stress disappearing.

I had 35 years at the Department of Education and Training as a teacher and then a principal. Having a stressful job, I did lots of training in natural therapies so that I would stay well myself, and now I am helping other women stay well too. When I was a principal, we had refuges in our area and families from domestic violence situations, so I understood a bit about what was happening for these women.

I’m still a busy person. I’m a part-time lecturer at UWS and I run a Nutrimetics business but I wanted to volunteer. I just thought, ‘Well, this is a way I can bring everything I learnt together and give back to the women who have been through so much.’ It’s a wonderful experience.

I really think I need to do my pop-up Pampering Club for the staff at Bonnie’s as well. They always joke ‘Can I book in?’ They do such a beautiful job and they care for those women so well, they need looking after too.

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