Grandkids inspire volunteer

As Australia grapples with the coronavirus crisis and the challenges that stem from it, celebrating our army of volunteers across the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has never been more important.

During National Volunteer Week, Holy Name Primary School, Forster is just one of many schools across the Diocese taking the opportunity to recognise its volunteer, Helen Webber, for her long-standing contribution to the school.

Ms Webber was inspired to volunteer at Holy Name in 2006 when her oldest grandchild started in Kindergarten.  

“I love being near my grandkids and helping the school,” Ms Webber says. “I like to volunteer so I can help people. I've had five grandkids come through Holy Name School since 2005 and it's a chance to be involved in their lives.

For Ms Webber, volunteering is an opportunity to keep in tune with children and a way to connect with them, not simply with her grandchildren but the entire school cohort.

Simone Maloney, learning support and primary school co-ordinator at Holy Name and the individual responsible for the nomination, speaks highly of Ms Webber, describing her as a kind, patient and compassionate woman.

Helen knows all of our staff and even our own kids’ names and takes the time to enquire about our wellbeing and that of our families,” says Ms Maloney. “She is never intrusive, but always happy to give us encouragement and congratulations for things that happen at school.

Ms Webber prepares and serves breakfast to Holy Name’s early arrivers at the Mini Vinnies Breakfast Club. She patiently teaches the student volunteers how to prepare the food and always stays back to assist with cleaning. But this is simply one area in which she lends a hand.

She also assists in the canteen, at the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden, at school fetes, and reads to kindergarten students.

“Without question Helen is here to roll up her sleeves and give us a hand,” says Ms Maloney. “She is always kind and patient with the students and knows most of them by name. Helen always takes the time to talk with the kids about their interests and learning.” 

Incredibly humble, Ms Webber says “I do it because I enjoy it and it's important to give back in life”.

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Brittany Gonzalez Image
Brittany Gonzalez

Brittany Gonzalez is Communications Co-ordinator in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.