Margaret volunteers for over 20 years

When she retired, Margaret wanted to find an activity where she could interact with people of all ages and do something worthwhile with her time. She had been sponsoring children through The Smith Family since 1989 because she had always been interested in supporting the education of disadvantaged Australian children. So The Smith Family seemed like a good place to start when looking for volunteer opportunities.

In 1994, Margaret applied for a volunteer clerical position assisting the fundraising manager at The Smith Family, and was accepted. Now, more than twenty years later, Margaret still comes weekly to our national office where she now assists our Supporter Care Team.

"[Initially] I was helping [the fundraising manager] in a clerical capacity. Sometimes it was typing letters. Sometimes it was stuffing envelopes. Sometimes it was ringing up people when we received returned mail," she remembers.


 

Margaret, Smith Family volunteer

Margaret, Smith Family volunteer

We check the mail that is received from sponsors and sent to the students…it’s a lovely thing to see. Sponsors are really quite wonderful and warm. I think a lot of the students must appreciate what’s being said to them,

says Margaret

Today, Margaret helps to manage the process of forwarding many hundreds of letters and parcels from sponsors onto their students. It’s an important task and one she thoroughly enjoys.

"We check the mail that is received from sponsors and sent to the students, for privacy - ensuring there are no surnames or personal information included. We check the particulars, enter it into our system, include a thank you card and send them on to the students," Margaret explains. “It’s a lovely thing to see.  Sponsors are really quite wonderful and warm. I think a lot of the students must appreciate what’s being said to them.

"Processing and sending cards and gifts, particularly at Christmas time or for birthdays, as quickly as possible and getting them out to students in time - that, for me, is the very important thing. I do think it means a lot to the students."

So what has kept Margaret coming back for so many years?

"It's as good for me as it is for The Smith Family because I certainly enjoy it. It's essential for me as a senior citizen to interact with people of all ages. The routine of having a commitment every week is important, and the fact that I feel appreciated here," she says.

"I'm happy that I have been able to contribute for so long. This is an organisation that obviously does give back to the community and where the staff seem to be happy. All in all, it's a pleasant place to be."
It's as good for me as it is for The Smith Family because I certainly enjoy it. It's essential for me as a senior citizen to interact with people of all ages. The routine of having a commitment every week is important, and the fact that I feel appreciated here,

says Margaret

You can help disadvantaged Australian children get the most out of their education and create a better future for themselves. Join our community of volunteers and help us to provide the support these children need.