Volunteering excellence recognised
Extended Families was delighted to present Jane Green and Kathleen O’Reilly as the winners of Margaret McGregor Award 2017 at our recent AGM.
The award was created in celebration and recognition of the outstanding work and career of Margaret McGregor, who in 1978 established the Foster Grandparent Scheme in Victoria, now Extended Families Australia. The Scheme pioneered volunteer visitor support and friendship to children living in Victorian residential institutions. The Award recognises the roles and achievements of Extended Families volunteers that have fulfilled the organisation’s mission by making an exceptional contribution to the families and children they support and to the organisation.
Jane’s journey with Extended Families started 5 years ago when she was introduced to Daniel and his family. Daniel was 6 years old at the time. From the first visit, Jane had a sense of purpose in helping Daniel and his family. Jane went week after week to visit Daniel, to blow bubbles for him, play sensory games, clap hands, and do anything that could engage him. It wasn’t always easy, but she stayed through those difficult times, always focusing on the positives. Her commitment has been unshakable and she has come to visit us week after week, year after year. Jane has also has a close relationship with his younger sister who was baby when Jane started her visits. It wasn’t long before she was near the door, waiting for Jane’s visits. Jane is helping her to connect and accept her brother.
“Like everyone else in the family, our children do not see Jane as a volunteer, or a visitor. Jane has been a natural part of our family for the last 5 years. We feel grateful and blessed to have her as a part of our extended family!” - Quote from Daniel’s Mum
Kat has been matched with Mairead and her family for 16 years now. Mairead was 3yo at the time. Kat embraced the whole family and included the whole family in her birthday celebrations and family Christmas get togethers. Kat is always there for Mairead, willing to support her and shower her with love. Nothing is too difficult to achieve for Kat. She is always kind to Mairead and spoils her rotten, just like you would expect a loving grandma would. Kat is unconditional with her love to Mairead. When they don’t see each other they keep in close contact via texts.
“I remember being quite nervous having a stranger involved in our family. My husband said to me at the time that I could be stopping Mairead from meeting someone wonderful in her live. I hate to admit it but he was so correct. Kat has taken on the role as foster grandparent selflessly. Kat is a very special, loved woman in Mairead’s life. Thank you Kat for being you and coming into our lives”. - Quote from Mairead's Mum