Volunteering is right at the heart of community groups and not for profit organisations. Without volunteers, community organisations are unable to operate which in turn means our local communities are not able to access the services they provide and may experience disadvantage.
At Beyond Bank we recognize the value of volunteers and our staff are encouraged to enjoy the many benefits of volunteering through our in-house volunteering program. Our program allows our staff to give back to their community by taking paid community leave. It was through this program that our 2018 community staff member of the year found her passion for volunteering and has not looked back.
Maree Henry met a group of volunteers representing Orange Sky Laundry whilst she was on community leave volunteering for Hunter Homeless Connect. Maree had heard about the young guys who started Orange Sky and the work they were doing in the homelessness space. She was touched by their story and took the chance to find out more about the organisation and how she could become involved.
Maree like many of us was unaware of just how many people were homeless in her local community. In fact, it wasn’t until she learned that a family member had run away from home that she realised that homelessness extended beyond those living on the streets and was affecting so many young people who were left couch surfing and living in their cars.
Maree has become a dedicated volunteer for Orange Sky Laundry and gives the organisation her time every Wednesday night. Maree’s commitment to the homelessness space also stretches beyond this with her becoming a dedicated volunteer and committee member for Hunter Homeless Connect day which occurs annually and offers services to those in the Hunter area who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
While improving the lives of those who are experiencing homelessness has become a real passion for Maree her dedication to the community has not stopped there. Across this year Maree has volunteered at the annual fundraising walk for Friends of Palliative care and has supported Hunter Melanoma Foundation with collections and fundraising events. Maree has used her talents for sewing to support people in the Kurri community with collections and drives for those who are experiencing disadvantage. Maree has found creative ways to support local organisations in meeting fundraising targets by promoting our community rewards program.
Maree is a dedicated mother, grandmother, wife, performer and team member and while Maree considers the experiences she has gained from volunteering to be a reward in itself we would like to take the opportunity to recognise these efforts and congratulate her for going beyond.
We’d like to congratulate Maree on being Hunter’s community staff member of the year for 2018.