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Gloria Mahoney OAM

Gloria Mahoney understands the importance of volunteering, both for organisations and beneficiaries, as well as the volunteers themselves.

Honour Roll

"One particular young girl came here as a single mum with a young child. She was from another country and didn't have any family here. She became involved with volunteering and through that I encouraged her to go back and resume some further study. She completed a community development degree and is now a very successful young woman" - Gloria Mahoney OAM

About 22 years ago, Gloria Mahoney began work on a pilot project now called the Monash Volunteer Resource Centre. Today she is the Chief Executive Officer of an innovative organisation that is a role model for volunteer centres and other agencies. The Monash-based centre, which recruits and trains volunteers, refers about 1,300 volunteers annually to more than 400 registered community-based agencies.

"Volunteering makes a difference to so many people's lives," Gloria says. "It's not only the people that they are helping but the people who are volunteering. Volunteering gives them a sense of purpose."

Gloria coordinates volunteers to help reduce the isolation and loneliness of diverse groups, such as the recently-established Mandarin and Cantonese women's groups. She also administers the Senior Citizens Register, a service that monitors the welfare of the frail elderly and ensures they have a support network.

When Gloria moved from Queensland with three young children, she believed that becoming involved in the local community would help her settle in. "I had a passion for finding volunteers for a community's need and it grew from there.

"When I first came here volunteers were hard to find. Many of the larger well-known agencies were finding they had so many volunteers knocking on their doors they didn't know what to do, while the smaller agencies found it difficult to recruit volunteers. Today, we are attracting many retirees and university students into volunteering. And with unemployment many people are coming through who want to gain some experience and try other fields which might lead to employment."

Gloria's support and attention to detail to ensure the volunteers are well matched to agencies has inspired many of the unemployed volunteers to return to the workforce. Gloria also works with the peak bodies for volunteering in Victoria and has a close relationship with the volunteer networks in the Eastern metropolitan region to develop new resources and improve standards for volunteer management.

She has been involved in many local committees and networks, including the Monash Welfare Committee and Primary Care Partnerships. In 2001 Gloria received a Centenary Medal and in 2003 she was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for service to the community.