Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background
Born in Ireland, the youngest of six siblings, into a Roman Catholic family. Despite the shortcomings of the Catholic Church in general and the Irish Catholic Church in particular, I embraced the Christian ethic of loving my neighbour as myself. Like many RC’s, I have a well developed sense of social justice and low tolerance for unfairness.
The year I turned 13 years, I experienced being a hospital patient. It was to set me on a course for life …. I wanted to help people less able than myself. When I left school I trained as an Occupational Therapist and was passionate about my work. I specialised in paediatric OT and worked in Ireland, Canada and New Zealand.
I’ve always loved travelling and meeting people from other cultures and faith groups. In my later years, I trained as an ESOL teacher, teaching English to visiting overseas students for 7 years. After that, I took on the job of coordinator of the Nelson Multicultural Council, an NGO dedicated to promoting positive race relations and supporting new migrants and former refugees. In recent times, I have been teaching Work Fit Courses at Adult Learning Support to prepare former refugees with very little formal education, to enter the work force.
What do you do for social good?
I know my community really well and have a talent for networking! There are many occasions when I am able to connect people or introduce them to services or experiences that will enrich their lives. I support a very large former refugee family who have a wide range of ages and needs. I am also a driving mentor for Red Cross Resettlement Services, assisting a former refugee with driving practice in order for him to pass his restricted license test.
Who is your biggest hero or inspiration?
What is your mantra or what is the most important value you live by?
Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.
What do you love about Collaborate?
Having worked in the Community Sector, I know first hand the amazing contribution that volunteers make but I also know how time-consuming it can be from an organisational point of view. Collaborate can save a huge amount of time and effort for both parties: it is an efficient and effective tool that connects people who have so much to offer and society benefits!