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Say thank you in National Volunteer Week

Australian Red Cross pays tribute to its 22,000 volunteers during National Volunteer Week, including Mary.

Monday May 11, 2015

Christina Galanis (left) says Mary Edwards is known around the office for her beaming smile.

As one of Australia's largest volunteer organisations, Red Cross takes pride during National Volunteer Week in thanking volunteers for the immense contribution they make.  

Mary Edwards is one of 22,000 volunteers Australian Red Cross is paying special tribute to during National Volunteer Week.  

Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy as a young child and unable to walk, Mary volunteers every Friday at the Red Cross office in Adelaide - and she loves it!  

"I love socialising and meeting people, and being useful, doing important tasks," Mary says. "I enjoy doing something different each week, I like the work."  

Her enjoyment exemplifies the theme of National Volunteer Week 2015 - 'Give Happy Live Happy' - because through volunteering Mary brings happiness to herself and the people around her.   

Christina Galanis, who works at Red Cross alongside her, says Mary is known around the Red Cross office in Adelaide for her beaming smile.  

"Mary says hello to everybody and has such a cheeky laugh. She's certainly good for morale," Christina says. "We look forward to having her here as much as she looks forward to coming."

Volunteers help build stronger, happier communities that are better places to live. They develop trust, inclusiveness and social connection.

Mary has lived in a special home since she was 19, where she receives full-time care for her disabilities. Now in her fifties, Mary is a very sociable person and volunteering helps her feel more socially connected.  

"I feel more part of the community," Mary says. "I get excited about coming to Red Cross every Friday. It gives me something to do, I find it stimulating and interesting.  

"I meet a lot of people and make friends through my volunteer work. It's very good and the people are so friendly."

Mary supports staff by doing administrative work, ranging from sorting and stapling documents to packing information kits. In addition to her volunteer work, Mary joins in morning teas, volunteer parades and attends events. Christina says the work Mary does is invaluable.

"She gets all the crucial administrative tasks done that help us effectively deliver our services."  

National Volunteer Week is organised by Volunteers Australia and runs from 11 to 18 May. For more information, visit our website.  

If you would like to consider volunteering with Red Cross, follow this link to find out more.