It’s her warm nature and ability to talk openly to everyone and anyone that has earned Kerry the nickname “mum” to many living on the streets of Perth. To us at St Bart’s, she’s recognised as one of our most loyal and eager volunteers. And while battling her own health challenges with incredible optimism, Kerry continues to brighten the lives of those around her.
“Growing up in regional NSW with a mum who suffered post-natal depression, and as a middle child of five, I had to help my brother raise my younger sister,” says Kerry. “I always wanted to work as a nurse or in an orphanage, but due to life circumstances I was unable to pursue those dreams.”
Not one to be easily deterred, Kerry’s passion for helping and caring for others has come about in other ways throughout her life. Mother to two and now grandmother to seven, Kerry has also fostered 56 children – some of whom she is still in contact with to this day.
The breakdown of her marriage led Kerry to move to Perth to be closer to her children and their families. After staying with them and friends for two months, she moved into St Bart’s Women’s Service, which is when her volunteering endeavours with us first flourished.
Since moving on from St Bart’s accommodation and into her own home two years ago, Kerry has continued to volunteer at our twice weekly on-site breakfasts that we provide for St Bart’s consumers, as well as morning teas held for our aged care consumers, assisting with Footpath Library, as well as a number of BBQ lunches provided for those in our services.
Outside of St Bart’s, Kerry also volunteers for Perth Homeless Support Group, Filipino Australian Health Workers Association (FAHWA), and as a street chaplain.
“I’ve got such a love for the homeless community that I often go and have tea with them at night on the street, just to make sure they’re alright. It wasn’t until I moved into St Bart’s that I became non-judgemental. No matter where people are at in their journey, I will always offer a hug and a listening ear.”
Thank you for all you do for the people we support at St Bart’s, Kerry!
Would you like to learn more about volunteering with St Bart’s? We’d love to hear from you! Click here for more info.