St Albans resident Luciana Di Mattia has celebrated an amazing 25 years of volunteer service to Brimbank Council.
Her family migrated to Australia in 1969 and settled into Brimbank with a desire to share their Italian heritage and their creative talents with the community.
Luciana’s father Tom Diele, who has now passed away, volunteered in many roles including at a community centre in Sunshine teaching painting and drawing. He also taught English as a second language to migrants, helped out with the first Sunshine Festival, won a Citizen of the Year Award and enjoyed strong working relationships with many former councillors.
“My father introduced me to volunteering, and I first started out as a marshall at the Sunshine Festival making sure that kids didn’t run between the procession and keeping people safe,” said Luciana.
But her true passion was volunteering in the area of children’s development. As a former private nanny, a mother to three children, and a grandmother to four, Luciana loved seeing the little ones eyes light up when they were colouring in a picture or listening to a story.
“We are there to give confidence to the parents that they are not alone, especially after restrictions of COVID, and can refer them to other services that can help them,” she said.
Luciana is currently facilitating playgroup at Westvale Neighbourhood House and has helped out in many other areas, including the children’s activities at the Christmas Carols at Overnewton Castle, at the former Children’s Week festival, the Disability Expo and with exchange students from overseas.
Her best memory of volunteering was being part of the tea dances to the tunes of old songs at Errington Community Centre with Brimbank senior residents.
“Seeing the joy on people’s faces gives me joy,” she said. “And I can’t speak more highly of the other volunteers.”
Luciana, 68, says there are many benefits to volunteering including keeping your mind alert, being with other people, having a sense of belonging, stretching yourself to help others, giving yourself a purpose in life and sharing your culture.
“When you volunteer, you bring in your laughter, your smile, your culture. It’s a way of visiting the world without leaving Brimbank, you leave your footprint and that is so beautiful,” she said.
“You don’t get paid but your reward is to put a smile on other people’s faces.”