Volunteer Story – Sharyn


Until recently Sharyn Kerr attended Dinsdale Playcentre with her three grandchildren.

 “I have two children aged 33 and 38 who attended Playcentre with me. I also have three grandchildren aged 5, 10 & 11 who I took to Dinsdale Playcentre. Since February this year I have attended as a childless volunteer.  When the time came, both my son and daughter also chose to join Playcentre with their children.”

Sharyn explains the impact that Playcentre has had on her and her family.

“I originally joined our local rural Playcentre in 1987 as a way to get out of the house and save my sanity with two children under two years old.  A welcoming bunch of Mums encouraged me into the adult education programme which I will always be grateful for.”

Sharyn credits Playcentre with not only helping her on her parenting journey but providing her with career direction as well.

 “Playcentre opened my eyes to how children learn, and I learnt ways to guide children’s behaviour that were very different to how I was brought up. As a first time Mum, it was great to be able to tap into the wisdom of more experienced parents at Playcentre.”

 “What started as a search for ideas on how to become a better parent turned into a career lasting around 16 years after completing the Playcentre adult education programme and learning many centre roles, facilitating workshops, running meetings, and most importantly how to play with children and support and encourage their parents.”

The friendships Sharyn and her grandchildren have made at Playcentre are very special.

 “I am still friends with some of the Playcentre Mums I met more than 25 years ago – they are like the sisters I never had.”

 “My grandchildren who are now all at school enjoy coming back to Dinsdale Playcentre for holiday sessions and graduate events and love reconnecting with their old buddies and favourite Playcentre grown-ups.”

According to Sharyn she feels like part of a community at Dinsdale Playcentre.

 “Dinsdale Playcentre is an awesome centre run entirely by parents.  Everyone is very welcoming and supports each other through hard times and enjoy lots of celebrations which make it feel like a real community.”

Sharyn has held many volunteer roles during her time at Playcentre, including treasurer, property, education, equipment, secretary and president.

 “My current role is probably best described as honorary mother and grandmother to all!”

When asked about how volunteering at Playcentre has impacted her life, Sharyn highlights some of the ways she has personally benefited.

 “Volunteering at Playcentre has led to 16 years of paid employment with flexible hours and lovely parents and children to be with.”

  “The long-term benefits are all the transferable skills I have learnt, from increasing cultural awareness, empathy, management skills, facilitation skills, and as a grandparent learning about social media and how to do accounts in Xero.” 

“The other benefit, not to be underestimated, is that I have made friends for life.”