Debbie Mace’s love of helping people has won her an award but that’s not why she volunteers.
The mother of three from Elermore Vale says she gets so much satisfaction from seeing a smile on someone’s face just “by doing a little something to help them”.
Through her employer, Greater Building Society, and its charitable Foundation, she’s helped Starlight Children’s Foundation to grant wishes for sick children, mentors young people with cerebral palsy, and organised a team to participate in Steptember to raise funds for Cerebral Palsy Alliance. Last year she helped Youth Off the Streets take a group of young people on their first ever airplane flight.
Debbie’s passion for volunteering started more than 20 years ago. She wanted to give back to the John Hunter Hospital and others for the care she and her premature baby had received. She became involved in Friends of NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), starting a support group and play group for mums of premature babies.
Like many volunteers, Debbie says she benefits from volunteering.
“Volunteering improves my wellbeing and broadens my horizons,” Debbie says.
“I have met so many lovely people from all walks of life that I never would have had the chance to meet,” she says.
“Those people teach me about the challenges they face and they teach me about myself.”
The full time lending communications officer volunteers outside of work too. On weekends Debbie will be in Newcastle’s Civic Park with Street Care helping to feed homeless people. She started working with the organisation after deciding to do further study in Community Services.
Her advice to others wanting to volunteer? “Just do it. Give it a go.”
Debbie has won the Greater Charitable Foundation’s inaugural annual Employee Volunteer of the Year Award. The award recognises a Greater Building Society staff member for their volunteering efforts with $500 donated to their nominated charities and $100 for themselves.
National Volunteer Week is May 11-17. For information on volunteering visit www.volunteeringaustralia.org or Hunter Volunteer Centre at www.hvc.org.au