Rotary Melbourne presented its 34th Sir John Reid Community Service Award to Libby Clarke from Very Special Kids an Australian children's hospice that provides respite and end of life care. Libby (centre) is seen here with special guests, Sir John Reid's daughters, Margaret Ross and Jean Hadges.
The Award was first made in 1987 and is a permanent memorial to Sir John Reid who served the Rotary Club of Melbourne for over 45 years. Sir John was President of the Club in 1953, was awarded the Vocational Service Award in 1978, and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 1984.
He was also involved with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Baker Institute and supported and served on a variety of Governing Boards including: the ABC, Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Walter and Eliza Hall Medical Research Institute and the Victorian College of the Arts, to name just a few.
Sir John’s service to Rotary and the community was inspirational and lived true to the Rotary motto, “service above self”. More than 1.5 million volunteers are making an important impact across Victoria in building our communities, services, and connections.
Our Club wishes to pay tribute to those dedicated achievers, and encourage others to follow their lead through the Sir John Reid Community Service Award. Thanks to the generosity of the John T Reid Charitable Trusts, our Club has been able to make a significant grant of up to $10,000 to the organisation where the winner has volunteered.
Libby Clarke’s service is nothing sort of remarkable. Libby is one of Very Special Kids longest serving volunteers with 21 years of service helping families to deal with very difficult challenges.
VSK is a charity that cares for children with life-threatening conditions by providing a children’s hospice. They also provide support services for families throughout their experience OF caring for children from diagnosis through to adulthood or bereavement.
Libby’s volunteer service has been unique as most of her contribution has been in emotionally challenging programs that offer a safe and affirming space for families to explore the impact of their child’s death. She has made a significant contribution as a volunteer in the Bereavement Support Program which provides a range of activities to meet the needs of families. This includes ongoing emotional support, activities for siblings, weekend retreats for parents and she has a key leadership role in the annual Remembrance Day.
Libby has supported hundreds of children and teenagers through her leadership and mentoring roles. In particularly, the Adolescent Camps and Adolescent Days programs for teenagers who are coming to terms with the changes in the family. Libby has the ability to identify situations where she can do far more than simply support, supervise and have fun with the children.
She is able to recognise a special moment a child is having and encourages them to work through their struggles and trust their own ability to not only survive the difficulties they are experiencing, but to grow through them. Her wisdom, care and compassion has helped many children to build confidence, maturity and self-love.
Libby’s service to the children and their families has been remarkable. This is service above self and is true volunteerism as applauded by the Sir John Reid Community Service Award.
We would like to thank Margaret Ross , Jean Hadges, Belinda Lawson and Andrew McKenzie from the Sir John Reid family and Trust, who were took part in the presentation of the award. They are seen here with President Kevin and Chair Mark Pinoli. Thank you Mark for delivering an outstanding Sir John Reid Award.