Meet Dawn McKenzie – Very Special Kids volunteer

80-year-old Dawn McKenzie has been volunteering with Very Special Kids for 20 years, and she’s still going strong.

Dawn first discovered Very Special Kids in 1995 when an advertisement calling for volunteers in her local community newspaper caught her eye.

“I went along to a meeting, did the volunteer training course and it’s been the best thing I ever did,” she said.

As a Family Support Volunteer, Dawn has directly helped four families by providing regular love and support to the child with a life-threatening condition and their family. She says while each family is different, it is all about providing support for the whole family unit.

“My first family I was looking after the father as well, taking him to Monash Medical and I would also take one of the siblings to the movies and work with the child that was non-verbal.”

But more often than not Dawn was there to provide companionship and emotional support for the parents of the sick child or provide respite care. She has been linked with her current family for six years now and continues to provide a tremendous amount of support for them.

“I feel honoured to be part of Very Special Kids, I really do. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life besides have my family,” she said.

In 1997 when the Piggy Bank Appeal began, she joined the Piggy Trails. Since then she has participated in metro and regional trails across Victoria.

Dawn is keen to support Very Special Kids in any way she can and enjoys fundraising by organising movie nights and dinners. Through these events Dawn has raised $105,111 to support the vital work of Very Special Kids.

With an altruistic and friendly spirit, Dawn continues to look forward to volunteering and wishes others would do the same.

“I love being able to meet and help new people. I just think being able to help people is what makes it so special.”

Find out more about volunteering for Very Special Kids