Volunteer profile: Jenny

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Jenny with Motaz.

How long have you been volunteering for Children First Foundation?

I have been volunteering with Children First Foundation for nearly 11 years now.

Before retiring from my teaching position, I began thinking about what I could with my free time when I finished working.  I saw an article in the local paper about an Open Day at the Children First Foundation Farm (as The Retreat was then known). I went along and really liked ‘vibe’ of the place. After speaking to some volunteers and Margaret Smith (the then CEO) at the event, I put my name forward as a volunteer. Before I knew it, I was attending an Orientation Day with other prospective volunteers.

During this Orientation Day, I met two gorgeous little children, Asha and Issa, from Tanzania. Asha had a chronic bowel problem, and her left leg was tucked up behind her body, making it very difficult for her to walk. Meanwhile, Issa had a severe clubfoot. After meeting them both, I just knew I just had to be involved in helping them. I was also very impressed by the real love and care that I felt permeated ‘the Farm’, and so it wasn’t long after that, I began officially volunteering for the Foundation.

Tell us a little bit about your volunteering role at Children First Foundation…

When I first started, I was predominantly teaching. I helped the kids learn to read in English, taught simple maths concepts and played games with them. Since Maree and Lorraine (also volunteers) started-up a more structured teaching program, my focus with the children has been on individual reading. I love playing games with the kids and also get involved in helping with meal preparations, cleaning and other house-keeping tasks. I also often visit the children when they are in hospital after their surgery.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at with Children First Foundation?

What I enjoy the most is getting to know and love the children and parents who accompany them. I also really value the friendship and camaraderie of fellow volunteers, and of all the staff and board members who I have got to know over the years.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, and spent a lot of my holidays on relatives’ farms near Port Lincoln. I became a primary school teacher and later moved with my husband (a Vietnam veteran) to Victoria. Unfortunately, we were unable to have children and later divorced. I taught continuously for 42 and a half years. My sisters and brother live in South Australia, and I have several nieces and nephews, and now great-nieces and nephews there! I see them at least once a year and keep in regular contact. I am extremely lucky to have travelled to many wonderful places in Australia and the world. I now live alone in Wallan but am very lucky to be surrounded by many friends – other teachers, U3A activity friends, and of course, my Children First Foundation friends.

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