A cross-cultural connection inspires a lifelong friendship.

News from St John - 7 Dec 2023

Kate (pictured), a recent university graduate, is one of our dedicated St John Ambulance Queensland volunteers, who joined us at the start of 2023. Her journey took an unexpected turn when her volunteering helped foster an important connection to a special lady.

Kate’s story begins not only with her commitment to serving her community but also with her love for Japanese culture.

Having studied Japanese and lived in Japan, Kate possesses a unique set of skills that extends beyond First Aid and medical assistance. Her language proficiency and cultural understanding opened doors to a heartwarming connection with an elderly Japanese lady in an aged care facility.

This heartwarming connection between Kate and Keiko*serves as a unique but steadfast example of the impact a St John Ambulance Queensland volunteer can have.

Language presented the first challenge with Keiko, grappling with Alzheimer’s, she found herself reverting to her native Japanese language, while Kate navigated the delicate balance of communication, she managed to draw on the language she studied to converse with Keiko, and here the relationship grew.

Despite the challenges, Kate’s passion for helping others and her commitment to community service became her passion.

Kate lives in Seven Hills and the aged care facility is in Slacks Creek. It takes Kate approximately half an hour to travel to Keiko, she is a student as well as surviving on a budget. Despite the cost of travelling, she continued visiting.

Kate visits Keiko once every fortnight and her visit includes taking Keiko for short walks or out to high tea with other residents. She says she finds the experiences with Keiko rewarding as it not only improves someone else’s life but hers, and her highlight of her 10 months volunteering journey is seeing Keiko smile.

As we celebrate International Volunteer Day this week and the diverse stories within our St John Ambulance Queensland community, let us be inspired by Kate’s journey and remember that, in the spirit of volunteerism, every act of kindness has the potential to create lasting connections and make a world of difference.

St John Ambulance Queensland offers a diverse range of volunteering experiences to find out more or to sign on to make a difference click on the link below

  • Keiko’s name has been changed to protect our client’s privacy.