We didn’t need to think twice about who should be our Volunteer of The Year for 2022. Kaye Uiterwyk was the unanimous choice.
Kaye began volunteering as our Internet Café guru back in 2019 and has been putting her hand up to help ever since. In 2022, Kaye volunteered as a digital mentor in our “Getting Started With Computers” class; assisted locals one-to-one with tech help; and volunteered her sewing skills in our Sew & Grow course. In her spare time she is also a regular at Stitching Time – a gathering of keen craftspeople who meet at KNH every Thursday.
Kaye has lived in Kensington for over 20 years. She started her career as a secondary school art and craft teacher and taught mainly Art and Textiles as well as junior English and Maths and Humanities.
“In the late eighties, I got interested in computers and graphic applications and I then moved on to being a graphic artist in the print and advertising industry. I taught computer graphics at a TAFE college for a couple of years. After the 2000 “tech wreck”, I started working in retail part time. I really enjoyed my years in retail because I worked in an interesting area of Melbourne and ended up with so many funny stories.”
When asked why she decided to start up the KNH Internet Café, Kaye answered, “I felt that seniors needed some help with technology but, being retired, they didn’t need business skills but more recreational activities. I also felt that they didn’t need to do everything the “new-fangled” way. They were able to pick and choose what technology they adopted, and what they ignored”.
Kaye enjoys the structure that volunteering brings to her life. “Being retired, I like to have some regular commitments that I need to do. I like to think I’m still useful. Volunteering means I can focus on my teaching skills but not have the responsibility of devising and organising the programs which, while very rewarding, is the trickier side of teaching”.
Any memorable moments from volunteering?
“From the internet cafe, introducing the participants to things they were very interested in. Things like Netflix, Pinterest, a visual diary, and Ravelry, a knitting and crochet resource site. Working with women, and finding things that would interest them, and be of some use to them in their day-to-day lives.
From the Sew and Grow classes, just having a range of people helping there. Teaching with a team. Working out how to do things on the fly and the students laughing with me because I’ve messed up. Being able to work with the students on things they’re most interested in because there is a teaching team with different areas of expertise.
From the Friday morning computer classes, seeing how important it is for students to get the chance to repeat skills over and over again. Often in computer classes, it’s showing the students once and on to the next skill.
I’d like to thank the teaching staff of Sew and Grow and the Computer classes for letting me in to help teach. I’d like to thank all the students for laughing when I’ve got something wrong. I’d look to thank all the students for turning up to classes because, without them, we wouldn’t have a job to do.”
Thank you Kaye. We hope to see you around our house for many years to come!