Dedicating Time and Hearts to students

Sue and Richard Baldwin are no strangers to the world of volunteering, having spent their lives dedicated to making a positive impact on the lives of children. For the past 19 years, they have been volunteers at Leda Primary School, where they dedicate their time and hearts to the students.

Sue and Richard discovered the world of school volunteering through their church. They had previously worked with children, running a youth group in Karratha and taking them on exciting bush trips. Their passion for mentoring and helping young people was ignited there. Sue, who had a large family of her own, was always helping care for the younger children, while Richard felt that mentoring was something they had the skills and experience to excel in.

“There are many students dealing with adult problems,” Richard observed. “Being an adult they can rely on and trust to tell things to is important,” added Sue. A saying that guides them both is, “Kids don’t care what you know until they know you care.”

Each week, they arrive at Leda Primary School with enthusiasm and a sense of purpose. The students eagerly await their arrival, often checking with their teachers to ensure that Sue and Richard are coming that day. The duo have their unique ways of connecting with the children. Sue uses games like Monopoly to teach valuable life skills, including math, reading, and how to be a gracious winner or loser. Richard, on the other hand, enjoys playing cricket and football with his mentees. However, their greatest gift is the safe space they provided for the students to open up and talk about their concerns.

Over the years, Sue and Richard have witnessed incredible transformations in the lives of the children they mentor. Some students improved academically, gaining confidence through the games they play. Others show remarkable changes in their behavior, becoming more settled in class, which positively affected the entire school environment.

One day, Richard arrived at school to collect his mentee and was told by the teacher that the young boy was hiding under the transportable room and refusing to come out. Without hesitation, Richard crawled under the building to join him. They sat there together, sharing a sandwich, and it wasn’t long before the student felt comfortable enough to come out.

“When you get to school, you know you are meant to be there that day, the students are excited to see you and share their news. Often they check with their teacher that you are coming that day; they don’t like to miss a session.” Richard added, “It can take time for students to get to know you and to trust that you will turn up for them, but after a while, you can show them they are worth showing up for,” said Sue.

Their dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Sue and Richard are not only cherished volunteers but were also invited to join the school’s Board, allowing them to contribute even more significantly to Leda Primary School’s community.

Through their selfless commitment and unwavering care, Sue and Richard Baldwin have not only brightened the lives of countless young students but had also woven themselves into the heart of their community. Their story was a testament to the profound impact that intergenerational volunteering can have on the lives of young people, proving that a little time, a lot of love, and a willingness to be there can change the course of a child’s life forever.

EdConnect Australia trains and supports volunteers to work in local schools, providing a safety net for young people who might otherwise struggle to realise their potential – in school and life. It is a volunteering organisation which operates within both primary and secondary schools.

EdConnect Australia are currently seeking volunteers for 2024.

For more information on our volunteering program click here, email edconnect@edconnect.org.au or call 1800 668 550.