BORN TO HELP: Bega Rotary’s Fay Steward said volunteering was just part of growing up in her family environment. Picture: Alasdair McDonaldFor Fay Steward, volunteering is in her blood, and was just part of growing up in her family environment.
”When we volunteer our time, money, or talents, we help make the world a better place,” the Tarraganda resident said ahead of many volunteer’s busiest times –Christmas.
“I think it’s the cornerstone of what makes communities successful.
Pitching in to help others in need, sharing knowledge and experiences andempowering others to get ahead in life, are all aspects of volunteering that have become part of Ms Steward throughout the years.
“I was also inspired by a few teachers during high school about the importance of using my education to benefit the broader community,” she said.
“So I guess there was never any doubt in my mind that volunteering would be something I’d do throughout life whenever I could.”
She still holds fond memories of her first day as a volunteer with the SES at the tender age of 15.
“My biggest worry was not being able to complete the rescue training courses, and that I would be assigned permanent kitchen duties…luckily this didn’t happen,” she said with a smile.
“It’s a bit like your first day in school; you don’t know anyone, everything is new, you’re not entirely sure what you’re going to be doing, and you don’t know if you’re going to fit it – but you think it’s a good idea – so you stick at it.”
Since moving to the area Ms Steward has become a member of Bega Rotary.
“I was a bit nervous fronting up to my first meeting; but that only lasted 5 minutes,” she said.
“It’s been great joining a local club which has such an enormous depth of experience, and a level of enthusiasm and commitment to community that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
“There was no sense of ‘having to gain your stripes’ before getting involved in some really interesting projects – they were more interested in what my skills and interests were and how I’d like to apply them.
Some of the projects include support for the Community Care Accommodation, Rotary Driver Awareness and the Book Fair.
“What really interested me most was the Science and Engineering Challenge event that Rotary is running with the University of Newcastle in March next year,” she said.
“It’s an annual nation-wide competition and 2017 will be the first time it’s held in our area.
It will give 256 students in Year9 and 10, from eightschools across the region the chance to showcase innovation and academic achievement in science, engineering and technology.
“We’re hoping it will inspire local young people to aim for a career in science or engineering, which in turn could result in making a real difference to their own future and the well-being of the community overall.”
Bega Rotary’s involvement in the Bega Toy Drive is about expressing the importance of a sharing society, she said.
“Christmas is a wonderful time of the year; but it’s also a time that shows up the sharp contrast between those who have and those who are less fortunate,” Ms Steward said.
“In many ways it’s seeing children being happy that makes Christmas special, and there’s something about being around happy kids that brings families together.
“So anyone who donates toys, as well as the volunteers who collect and arrange distribution of toys are doing everyone a great service.
“It sends a message about the importance of sharing and giving within our community.”
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