Volunteer Profile – Diane

Diane’s association with Family Life spans over 40 years, and at least five different roles. Most recently she has joined our Beaumaris store team where her lovely daughter Suzi works, too. We’re so grateful for the time, commitment and support Diane has shown over the years – she is an incredible asset to Family Life. Thank you Diane!


How long have you been volunteering at Family Life?

I’ve been volunteering on and off with Family Life since 1983. All up, it’s about seven years but lots of different roles in that time.

Why did you decide to volunteer?

I lived in Hampton when my kids were young and I wanted to do something that fitted in with school times but I wasn’t ready to return to full-time work as a teacher. I like talking to people and must have seen the old Hampton shop and thought, why not? I wanted to do some good and it turned out to be great.

What do you do as a volunteer?

I started off back in the early ‘80s as a Family Aid worker, I would visit the same families regularly to offer support and over time got to know some of them quite well. I often think of where they are now. Then later, I volunteered as a Volunteer Coordinator. I used to phone all the volunteers to see how many hours they had worked that month, and then report it back to the government as part of our monthly statistics. In those days there was no such thing as sending a text!

Later on I volunteered to help run the Mum and Bubs groups which were run by Marilyn Ellis at the time, and after that I helped sort baby clothes at the old Moorabbin warehouse.

Now I’m at the Beaumaris op shop where my daughter Suzi works, too. You could say I have a unique perspective in that I know where the funds go – why we’re selling things in the op shops – and that makes it all the more rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

Chatting and connecting with other volunteers and people in the community. There are some people that come into the shop just for a chat, and you can see they might not have anyone else to talk to so it feels good to be able to offer that connection. I also feel like I’m doing something for the charity and helping my community – it’s very rewarding.

“It makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger.”


What is the best thing you’ve got out of it yourself?

The satisfaction of giving back and helping people. We are very fortunate in the Bayside area. There’s a lot to be grateful for – some people don’t have anything.

What is your favourite volunteer memory?

Lately, while working in the shop, Lisa McCune came in! Suzi and I were both working that day and couldn’t help but look at each other, trying to work out if we should say something. It was Lisa who actually started chatting and said how much she loved Family Life and that she was a big supporter. She was thrilled to find our store in Beaumaris.

I’ve also always really enjoyed the training sessions over the years and the social events where we can meet other volunteers and chat. It’s really nice seeing the same familiar faces each year and getting to know them, even though we volunteer in different areas. It makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger.

What would you say to someone who was thinking about volunteering?

Give it a go! You’ll find everyone is very friendly and helpful and you’ll get a lot out of it.

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