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Byron Shire
December 1, 2022

Mother’s Day performance saved by local volunteers

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Suzie Whiteman was facing the prospect of having to cancel her annual Mother’s Day show.

For more than 20 years the local facilitator had organised a performance featuring the talents of people with disabilities from across the Northern Rivers a part of her integrated disability group, the Dragons.

But as the second Sunday in May approached, Ms Whiteman found herself without any backstage volunteers to help the Dragons strut their stuff.

‘I had no one to help me get my dancers changed and I couldn’t do it alone so I was going to have to cancel the show,’ Ms Whiteman said.

Enter Ossie Armstrong Welsh.

Mr Welsh, a local indigenous artist and musician, and his family, volunteered their time to rehearse and with the group and to make sure the show went on.

‘We all survived and came on the stage with big smiles,’ Ms Whiteman said.

‘It really demonstrated the wonderful volunteers we have in this community.’

Local volunteer Ossie Armstrong Welsh taking part in a workshop with mixed ability performance group, the Dragons. Source: Suzie Whiteman

Mr Welsh and his ilk are being recognised across the region this week during Volunteers Week.

‘Without positive people power we would not longer be in operation, so it’s great to have a special week set aside for recognising and thanking volunteers of all ages, races and genders who lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference in our communities,’ Ms Whiteman said.

‘The feedback is always positive and many times it is so touching to hear the people without disabilities who came to help thanking you for the opportunity.’

‘Throughout volunteerism, we can find our purpose and create meaningful change.’

Volunteer week runs from May 21 to 27, with thousands of events being held across the country to say thank you to the six million Australians who volunteer their time.

Visit https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/nvw/ to learn more.

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