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ACT aged home volunteer up for Local Hero

LH Viola Kalokerinos ACTThe ACT’s state finalist for Australia’s Local Hero 2015 in the Australian of the Year awards is a Curtin native who dedicates much of her free time to older people in the community.

Viola Kalokerinos volunteers at the St Nicholas Greek Aged Home. She has a relative living there and visits once a week to make coffee or baked goods for the residents or just spend time with them.

She also would take her relative and a couple of others out every Saturday to go to the movies, lunch or just somewhere that was of interest to them. Kalokerinos is also a supporter of all functions at the facility, including celebrations and fundraising. For the past year, she has also arranged for a small bus to go to the facility and pick up residents to bring them to her place for morning tea, hosting as many as 10 or so.

“I always had the passion for older people,” said Kalokerinos, who was raised by her grandparents in Greece whilst her parents worked on a farm. “They were like parents to me. I always had a soft spot for them and when I married and I came to Australia, again I connected with older people.”

Kalokerinos would take some of the older people in her neighbourhood to church as they couldn’t drive. “I found they were very happy to have that help,” she said.

“If you can make a little difference in their life I think it’s very, very important and I am very happy to do that,” Kalokerinos added. “If someone now needs help, I am happier to spend the time for them than spend it for myself and relax. If I don’t do something like that then at the end of the day I don’t feel happy.”

Kalokerinos is also deputy chair of the ACT Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing and is on the special events committee for the Multicultural Seniors Network, helping to host guest speakers who talk to groups about aged-care matters that affect them.

She feels she has a duty to older people and that they deserve some happiness in their later years of life, as they have done much for younger generations.

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