National Volunteer Week: mother and son duo recognised for work at The Smith Family

The Smith Family volunteers Ruwini Koralage and son Manul.
The Smith Family volunteers Ruwini Koralage and son Manul.

A FAMILY who volunteers together, stays together.

As part of National Volunteer Week, mother and son duo Ruwini and Manul Koralage have been acknowledged for their work at The Smith Family.

Committed to helping disadvantaged Australian children get the most out of their education, The Smith Family says volunteers are the backbone of the charity.

Assisting in administrative duties, Ruwini began her volunteering journey at The Smith Family’s Gosnells office in 2011 and hasn’t looked back.

The busy mum of two, who has a Bachelor of Information and Technology, said volunteering allowed her to apply her IT skills to day-to-day tasks at the office.

“Helping disadvantaged kids has been our family’s tradition,’’ she said.

“Many kids are deprived from basic facilities such as a good education and when I heard that The Smith Family provided support to disadvantageous students on a bigger scale, I was not hesitant to join the organisation.”

Ruwini said her involvement in the charity inspired Manul to start volunteering two years ago.

She hoped her 14-year-old daughter Manudi would follow in their footsteps when the time arrived.

The 18-year-old student juggles volunteering with studying medicine, and with ambitions of becoming a cardiac surgeon it’s safe to say he has a heart of gold.

“You get a great sense of satisfaction from helping those in need,’’ he said.

“Volunteering is important to me as I understand that there are people out there who could use a little help and I’m glad to help those people,’’ he said.

Family partnerships co-ordinator Greg Lewis thanked Ruwini and Manul for their generosity and commitment to the charity.

“Manul did 145 hours as part of his high school community service and said it helped him get into his current course of Medicine at UWA,” he said.

Ruwini said she was proud of her son’s efforts and no parent could expect more than that from their loved ones.

“I have been proudly but silently observing how the volunteer opportunity helped my son to think as a member of the society, to become a helping hand for people in need and more over to shape his attitude constructively to the society in which he lives,’’ she said.

The Smith Family is one of Australia’s largest volunteer organisations, with nearly 9000 people generously donating their time, skills and energy each year to support our mission of helping disadvantaged children with their education.

“The Smith Family is absolutely indebted to our dedicated volunteers. Last year, people collectively gave 465,000 hours of their time to support our work with thousands of children and families in need,” The Smith Family’s national volunteering manager Lauren Stocker said.

“Volunteers help with so many aspects of our work from critical back-end support to our retail stores to helping us deliver our learning and mentoring programs for children in highly disadvantaged communities.

“We simply couldn’t run these programs – or our organisation more broadly– without our volunteers.”

Volunteering WA invites all West Australians to get involved in National Volunteer Week with the positive message of ‘Give a Little. Change a Lot.’

This year’s theme represents the millions of volunteers who make a profound impact in their communities and on society, through giving a little time to make a huge difference.

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