3 June 2024

Three Jamberoo women recognised in NSW Hidden Treasures Honour Roll

| Kellie O'Brien
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Vivienne Marris (left), Diane McParland (top) and Barbara Adams were inducted into the NSW Hidden Treasures Honour Roll. Photos: Linda Faiers, Jamberoo Red Cross and Supplied.

A need for support during challenging times earlier in life led Jamberoo woman Vivienne Marris to adopt a “pay it forward” attitude that today has her part of an extensive list of volunteer organisations and projects.

The Elders Real Estate Jamberoo principal and owner is one of three Jamberoo women inducted into the annual New South Wales Hidden Treasures Honour Roll in May to honour rural women volunteers who give to their communities, with the other two women being Diane McParland and Barbara Adams.

The women have shared interests in multiple volunteer organisations, with Barbara having volunteered for Red Cross for 17 years and been president for just as long, and Diane, as a dairy farmer turned beef cattle farmer, focused on the agricultural industry, particularly the Albion Park Show Society and Dapto Poultry Club.

For Vivienne, outside of working full time, her commitment to enriching the lives of others in the Jamberoo community is wide-ranging – and impressive.

Among the list are the Jamberoo Valley Ratepayers and Residents Association, Jamberoo Youth Hall, Jamberoo Village Markets, Jamberoo Red Cross, Jamberoo Vintage and Classic Car Show, Jamberoo Public School, CWA, Salvation Army Christmas Giving Tree and Kiama Garden Club.

With her sons now in their 40s, in her early years she also supported their sporting involvements, coaching soccer, volunteering at baseball play days, and travelling with cubs and scouts during weekend camps to cook and care – all while working full time and as a single parent.

READ ALSO ‘We are very lucky to have people like Barbara’ – community hero named Kiama’s Woman of the Year

“Some of my early years were not crash hot, and I had some volunteers who were neighbours,” she said.

“That just stayed with me that it’s important that people give back and return where they can, whenever they can – it doesn’t have to be in a big way.”

Vivienne encouraged others, where possible, to take on a volunteer role, highlighting that whatever you put in, you got out of it the benefit that somebody else would gain from your work or input.

“Hopefully they, at a later date like me, will recognise that somebody helped them when they needed help, with some small thing they might be able to do,” she said.

“It’s just a warm and fuzzy feeling we generate as volunteers in others, so they think they’re not out there on their own. Somebody cares about them.”

Vivienne said while the word “volunteer” conjured up different images for people, it was “just helping”.

“For me, volunteering is more about the receiver than the giver,” she said.

“I just like it when people enjoy what we do and get some benefit from it, and it makes them happy there are other people out there who care about them.

READ ALSO From city girl to agricultural stalwart – Diane McParland honoured for contribution to Albion Park Show

“Whether it’s a big organisation or just one single person, everybody can be a volunteer – you just volunteer to help somebody cross the road.

“Obviously, it’s got more grunt and more weight if you belong to an organisation of some kind, like things that I do, which is CWA, Red Cross and Kiama Garden Club.

“The Red Cross do a lot of good work with single-parent housing in Nowra, the CWA donate as much as we can and do fundraisers and drives and even the Kiama Garden Club, which I’m president of, that’s just about getting people involved in community and something that doesn’t cost them anything.

“They’re all good things that somebody else gets a benefit from, and somebody else feels they can come and join and make their small contribution, as opposed to having to be the head person in something.”

While she said no one organisation or project was more important to her than another, she had enjoyed doing the Christmas Giving Tree for the past 20 years for The Salvation Army.

“The generosity of the community is amazing, but I think one of the things that gives me joy is when parents bring their children in to put a gift under the tree and their little faces light up,” she said.

“It gives me a lot of joy when the parents are already encouraging their children to give at an early age.”

In 2018, Vivienne received the Kiama Electorate Outstanding Local Volunteer Award, recognising her contribution to the community.

The three women were special guests of the Minister for Women Jodie Harrison in Wagga, where their volunteering efforts were recognised. Vivienne was also part of a speaker panel.

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