In the second of our KLU Q&As, we’ll be focussing on a very different type of volunteer. While some of our volunteers offer their time and talent by leading KLUbs, such as Bert at Kids Like Checks, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Jane Blackie is an invaluable member of the KLU team, helping us in a whole host of ways that would take far more than this brief introduction to describe! Jane is a great person and a great friend, and so it was our pleasure to sit down with her for a quick interview…
Q: How did you first hear about Kids Like Us?
Jane: My son has been a student of Anne’s since before KLU, so as she moved on to become KLU we moved with her.
Q: What made you decide to become a volunteer?
Jane: As we have been around since the early days, there was always something that they needed help with here and there. As KLU grew, there was a more permanent need for volunteers, so here I am!
Q: Tell us a little about what you do at Kids Like Us
Jane: I guess I’m a bit of an all-rounder, really. This term I come in on a Wednesday and usually do the kitchen duties, coffee/tea runs, work in with the classroom with the teachers and help them with the kids – as well as answering the doorbell! I also do filing, arranging the files of the kids that Anne has seen over the last week. Or, if there are any other projects that need extra help I sometimes come in on other days as well.
Q: What’s the best thing about working with Kids Like Us?
Jane: I can see what help the kids are getting from all of the various activities that are provided, whether it be from the teaching, tutoring groups, counselling or the activity clubs like Lego, Chess, etc. These activities help them grow not only with their school work but in themselves. It’s a happy, caring environment, and this helps the kids feel that they want to be involved.
The concept of the organisation and what they do behind the scenes is really helping to make the schools, community, and others that need to be aware that not every child has the same way of learning. It doesn’t mean that the child is stupid or dumb, but that they’re wired differently and need to be helped accordingly. Picking up the child’s learning problem as early as possible gives them the advantage of being helped earlier.
On a personal note, I love working in the environment and have formed great friendships.
Q: What do you do when you’re not at Kids Like Us?
Jane: I was a Nurse for many years until I had to leave through ill health. Now I’m a stay at home Mum, who likes catching up with friends on a more regular basis. I also went on a cruise to New Zealand earlier this year, and I love the idea of going on more cruises. I recently got hooked on puzzle and quiz books, and I love making plans to redecorate areas of the house – but never seem to get around to actually redoing it! Spending time with my family is very important to me, including our furry four-legged little girl, Lucy.
Q: If you were a fictional character, which character do you think you’d be – and why?
Jane: Oh dear, that’s hard! Pooh Bear from Winnie the Pooh, because he is so laid back, has no worries and is in no rush to get anywhere or do anything.
Q: What was your favourite book when you were at school?
Jane: Definitely not any of those Shakespeare ones! 7 Little Australians is one that comes to mind – though I’m not sure if it was a school one. They also made a TV series from it.