For 12 years, June Ferguson has been welcoming customers to our Elsternwick op shop. “Being out front I get to meet and greet so many lovely people. I also love to put good music on in the shop – many people comment on how they enjoy the music! It has good vibes.”
June applied to be a volunteer shortly after her second husband passed away. “I needed to do something to fill my days,” she says. She chose the Elsternwick store because she had friends working there and it’s close to home.
“It’s just part of my weekly social events,” says June, who volunteers every Monday. “I hate to miss it! Everyone knows that’s what I do on a Monday – I’ll come home from weekends away early to be there. I hate letting them down. You meet some wonderful people working there.”
Mark Valentini, acting Volunteer Program Coordinator, had the pleasure of working with June at the Elsternwick store for a couple of years. “The lady is a machine! The life of the party,” he says. “When she told me she was in her 80s I was stunned. She is 80ish going on 30!”
Mark says June loves playing the Bee Gees back catalogue and is always up for a chat, particularly about her beloved Sydney Swans. She also loves trying on the hats in advance of Melbourne Cup Day and doing a fashion parade for her teammates.
“Whenever June is away customers ask after her. June is a special person,” says Mark.
It’s been a dozen years since June started her volunteering journey with Sacred Heart Mission and at 84 years old she says she hopes to volunteer for at least a dozen more. She very much missed her Monday shifts during the pandemic and is thrilled to be back at full speed.
June has faced her share of challenges – she was widowed young, raised four daughters on her own and walked them all down the aisle herself. She’s now a grandmother to eight and volunteers her time to a range of charities she cares deeply about. “I’ve never been good at sitting around doing nothing!” she laughs.
“Our op shops help the vulnerable and homeless… I think it is a very worthwhile charity,” she says. For June, spending time with her fellow volunteers at annual events is always a highlight. “It’s fun working with like-minded people.”
June often encourages her friends to volunteer – especially those who have recently experienced a big life change, like losing a partner. “It’s important to keep busy, not let yourself be too sad and give back to others.”
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