‘Volunteers don’t always have the time, but they always have the heart’

They are the quiet army, working behind the scenes to make our school a better place.

To mark this week’s National Volunteer Week, we today pay tribute to the more than 140 people who selflessly give up their time to help out at Blackfriars.

From canteen helpers to those who listen to reading, to sporting team assistants and members of our Board, volunteers are the backbone of the school community.

By far the largest group of volunteers at Blackfriars are the members of our Parents and Friends (P&F) Association.

Blackfriars’ inaugural P&F was established in 1954, just one year after the school’s opening.

Parents painting the school chapel in 1961.

Right from the start, the volunteers worked tirelessly to make Blackfriars a better place.

In 1956, the “Fathers Club” minutes book showed income of £274.10 from raffles, functions and donations and expenditure of £199 on items such as sand, cement and gravel for new cricket pitches, which the fathers installed, and timber and nails for a new bike shed.

In recent years, the P&F has raised money for the development of the Masters Pavilion, the upgrade of the Primary School playground and the installation of the outdoor gym.

It also funded the purchase of our barbecue trailer, which is used for many school events.

P&F volunteers run the school’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day stalls, the Prospect Road Autumn Fair and Café Frassati at the Primary Sports Day, among many other events. They also host breakfasts and quiz nights and the annual Outdoor Movie Night.

Next week, P&F members will be behind the bar at the Autumn Music Soiree.

P&F Chair Natalie Galkowski is presented with flowers by her sons Alex and Jack in recognition of her work organising the school’s Mother’s Day breakfast.

“Volunteers don’t always have the time, but they always have the heart,” said P&F President Natalie Galkowski, who has two sons at Blackfriars.

“I volunteer at Blackfriars because I enjoy seeing the community respond to an event and I like doing things that make people happy. That’s what being a volunteer is all about.

“And it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment … sometimes it just about turning a sausage.

“I really encourage more people to become involved in the P&F. The rewards are enormous.”

Some of the treats created by our P&F volunteers for Cafe Frassati at ELC and Primary Sports Day.

Principal David Ruggiero said Blackfriars was so thankful for its volunteers – during National Volunteer Week and every week.

“In the busyness of day-to-day life, we are so fortunate and thankful to have our volunteers, working to make Blackfriars a better place,” Mr Ruggiero said.

“They seek no recognition or reward, rather give up their time for the love of the school. We cannot thank them enough for their contributions.”

Research showed children benefitted from parental involvement in school life, Mr Ruggiero said.

“Keeping that in mind, we encourage all parents to become engaged and active participants at Blackfriars,” he said.

National Volunteer Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteering.

You can learn more about Blackfriars P&F, and find out how to become involved, here.

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A Blackfriars teacher has been named Early Career Teacher of the Year at the Catholic Education Awards.

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