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New Catholic wins a volunteer award, embracing the social justice teaching of the Church

Top volunteer: Lachlan Dent.

YOUNG Catholic Lachlan Dent lives his life by a simple ethos – give your time and talents to other people. 

The 22-year-old recently was awarded the top prize at the north Queensland Volunteer awards in Townsville for his work as a youth representative on the St Vincent de Paul Society State Council.

Mr Dent gives his time to helping disadvantaged children aged between eight and 12.

“I’ve been volunteering for Vinnies for the last five years with the local Buddies Day program,” he said.

The Buddies Day initiative is a Vinnies program that works with surrounding conferences to provide support for children and their families.

“We take them out for a fun day-out to give them and their families some respite, as well as any negative influences, and support their families,” Mr Dent said.

“Recently we went to the museum.

“We put together a scavenger hunt so the kids went and worked through the scavenger hunt with a big buddy to give them someone to talk to.”

Mr Dent said the kids were ecstatic at the opportunity to explore the nooks and crannies of the museum.

“One-hundred per cent the kids love it,” he said.

“There are a few that are very inquisitive children, so it’s good to give them the chance to go into the museum.

“Sometimes you get children from the Vinnies refugee program, so some of those kids we take down to The Strand, which is our local beach here.”

Mr Dent was baptised Anglican, however, in 2017 he journeyed with the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program before joining the Catholic Church.

“I went to a local Catholic school here so I had that Catholic upbringing,” he said.

“It wasn’t until I volunteered with Vinnies that I decided to take that next step.

“There’s a particular quote from (Blessed) Frederic Ozanam that says, ‘Yours must be a work of love, of kindness, you must give your time, your talents, yourselves’.

“That reflects the Catholic ethos.”

On top of his volunteer vocation, Mr Dent will soon take his broad skill set into a new arena.

“I’m studying to be a high school teacher,” he said.

“The values and everything I’ve learned from volunteering and working with children will help.

“Preparing my program days … has really developed me personally and professionally.

“Teaching is about a holistic education – looking after the personal development of the students that I’d be working with – supporting them in their personal lives as well.”

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