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Overcoming life’s battles


John loves the energy and confidence that volunteering brings.
“I’ve changed now. I’m quite confident, and I’m very grateful of what The Salvation Army … has done for me.” 

 

After going through the Bridge Program for gambling addiction at William Booth House, John took up the opportunity to become a volunteer with The Salvation Army’s Red Shield Defence Services (RSDS).

 

John said he was very low when he arrived, but volunteering in this capacity has changed his life. It has given him a purpose and boosted his self-esteem.


“I am originally from New Zealand,” says John. “I've been in Australia now since 1995. I’m a compulsive gambler. In 2005, I had a run-in with the police. My court-appointed lawyer’s brother used to work at William Booth House in the Bridge Program. And she asked me why I was in court and the reason for it and all that.

 

“When I’d told her, she said, ‘Well, when you get sorted out, come and see me, and we’ll get you into a rehabilitation program and all that.’ And that's how I became involved with The Salvation Army. They just sort of said, do you want to become a volunteer?


Calm presence

 

Major Kenneth Delamore, RSDS Officer in Charge and Senior Representative at Royal Military College, Duntroon, shared that John is “very easy to get on with. He has a great sense of humour. He has a lot of knowledge about sports and things in general that he can connect with the cadets on. And just to have John and his calm presence around the truck is really, really a great help. And that's taught me a lot as well.


“A lot of young cadets come in, and they’re first time away from home, and it’s somewhat overwhelming,” Kenneth continued. “People get very relaxed when they’re standing around the truck having a nice cup of tea and a biscuit. They often ask questions, share, unload and all that. And we have some very deep and meaningful chats with our cadets. The impact that has on them for the good is only going to be better for them as future leaders. And we’ve got some great future leaders coming through.”

  

Confidence returns

“When I first started, I was, my self-esteem was very low because when you're in addiction, you do things that you probably never thought you could do,” John shared.


“You go into some very bad places and all that. And when I first started, it was very hard … because the cadets all call you ‘Sir’, and I kept looking behind me thinking, who's she talking to or who’s he talking to? So, it really helped with my self-esteem. And I’ve changed now. I’m quite confident, and I’m very grateful, I suppose, of what The Salvation Army in any shape or form has done for me.” 


John (second from left) serving at the RSDS truck with Cadet Lawrence David and Majors Joanne and Kenneth Delamore.

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