Vera was on the lookout for an impactful way she could help the local community when she first came across Sacred Heart Mission six years ago.
Originally from Brazil, Vera relocated to Melbourne from New Zealand after retiring from being a chemical engineer and data researcher, and learnt about the Mission while at Sacred Heart Catholic Church with her family.
Since the Volunteer Department recruited Vera, she has played a vital role behind the scenes at the Mission, using her skills to help analyse data for a variety of programs, including client surveys and other information required for reporting to funding bodies.
Drawing on her fondness for using data to make informed decisions, Vera identifies emerging trends and refines databases so the Mission can better understand the needs of clients and volunteers.
Vera says she is enthusiastic about presenting data so it can be easily understood and readily applied to achieve results at the Mission.
“During the six years I have volunteered here, I have seen the quality of our data improve – it’s now much more useful,” Vera says.
“Data gives the Mission the information it needs to make decisions about its programs and services, such as where a service can be improved to achieve better outcomes for people.
“Having quality data also means we can collect evidence of our impact, in order to benchmark how we are tracking towards our vision.”
Volunteer Coordinator Mizzi Walker says besides preparing reports, analysing data and putting it into an understandable format, Vera notices trends, oddities and ‘relationships’ in the data.
“Vera’s expertise has been essential to our programs and services,” Mizzi says.
“We are dedicated to measuring the impact of our work so we can continue to develop evidence to help our clients, and having Vera on board has meant we can look into the demographics of our clients in a cohesive way, which ultimately improves the lives of the people who access our services.”
Vera’s passion for data and the way it informs decision-making is matched only by her passion for social justice.
“It feels very rewarding to be a part of the Mission,” Vera says.
“The Mission changes people’s lives and helps them become included in society – the numbers I see confirm this!”
“I know through my volunteering at the Mission, I am making a contribution to a fairer society, and therefore a better world.”
Vera says she loves using the skills she is passionate about to do useful work that perhaps not many people get pleasure out of.
“Besides contributing to a very worthy cause, I love volunteering with my colleagues at the Volunteer Department too, that’s a highlight,” she says.
“I would recommend volunteering at the Mission to anyone; there is a volunteer role for every person here; people of all ages, skills, cultures and interests will feel welcome.”
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