Volunteer of the Month

Send us a nomination at [email protected]

Debra Chamberlain-Brown from Te Puke Playcentre

Te Puke Playcentre would like to nominate Debra Chamberlain-Brown for volunteer of the month. Debra is one of those rare truly special people that you come across every so often, and we have been so lucky to have her as part of our Playcentre whānau. 

Debra has been our superstar Grants Officer for the past few years, and she has managed to get a phenomenal number of large projects over the line thanks to her grant application efforts. Her work doesn’t stop with grants though, once initiated, Debra sees the whole project through. Two years ago, Debra sourced the funds to give our baby room a makeover, including new bunk bed cots, decorations, and a fresh coat of paint. The baby corner also got some new soft play equipment, toys, and other furniture, and the family play area was totally transformed into a role play wonderland for our tamariki. Following on from this, Debra once again sourced the funds and coordinated the installation of an incredible new bike pump track, and magical outdoor musical instrument installation.

Then came the big one, the pipe dream that was always talked about but never dared to be attempted; a big renovation project including a new kitchen, opening up the back with double doors onto a new covered deck area, autex on the walls, fresh paint, new carpet, and a bathroom do-up. Debra decided to take it on.

Not only did she spend hours making applications for grants, requests for donations, and spearheading some major fundraising to reach our funds target, she also project-managed the whole renovation from A-Z, with meticulous attention to detail. There were many hoops to jump through along the way, from both Council and Playcentre, but Debra never gave up. While the renovations were under way, you could often find her on the weekends on the end of a paint roller, doing an extra coat after the rest of us had called it a day. After it was all done, Debra followed up with all the report write ups and a myriad of thank yous for all of our sponsors. 

All members of Te Puke Playcentre would like to extend their heartfelt thanks to Debra for everything she has done for our community. It is truly inspiring. Mīharo, e hoa! Through her amazing work, she has made a Playcentre dream come true. Debra is a wonderful human being, she has had such a positive disposition and can-do attitude. Always smiling, always excited for our little Playcentre. She has surpassed everyone’s expectations of what is possible and our Playcentre looks outstanding as a result. The sense of wellbeing and belonging has increased for our entire whānau as the changes to the environment are warm, beautiful and inviting. A place to be truly cherished.

But she hasn’t stopped yet! She is currently upgrading our Science area with new furniture and equipment; the final swansong to her days at our Playcentre with her youngest having started school this term.

We wish all Centres could have a Debra!