John’s Story

Volunteers play a vital role in helping to deliver Brainwave Programs and Events to children and families impacted by neurological conditions. Each month we select one of our outstanding volunteers to feature and say thank you. The answers to the questions below will be published on our website and social media.


Volunteer Name: John Clifford

How long have you volunteered with Brainwave? 

I have volunteered with Brainwave for five years.

How did you get started with Brainwave and what attracted you to our work and mission?

I chose Brainwave from several volunteering options at QBE. My extended family includes some people with a disability, and I knew that the activities offered by Brainwave would not only be enjoyable for the kids but that they would give the parents such much-needed downtime too.

What was your first volunteer day like? How would you describe the volunteer experience?

My very first day volunteering was at Port Melbourne back in 2015, and I was surprised by how much planning goes into every stage of the activities and the day itself. We were well briefed and had every question answered. I was initially nervous about the possibility of one of the children having a medical episode while playing, but everyone was very welcoming, and I felt at ease.

What is your favourite part about volunteering with Brainwave?

My favourite part about volunteering is knowing that the camp/activity is a tremendous experience for the parents and kids. I believe that many families would look forward to these events for weeks. Being part of a team that can give respite to the parents, especially, is fantastic. I enjoy the enthusiasm that the kids bring to the activities. During my last Grantville camp, I sat with a different family at every mealtime and spoke with them, listening to their stories and the challenges that they face.

What have you learnt from volunteering? 

I have learnt that Brainwave parents are grateful for the help we give them. I have also learnt that the siblings of affected children carry a much more substantial burden than I could have imagined and that this is often overlooked.

Any words of wisdom you live by?

Success is not forever, and failure is not fatal.