Every Thursday morning, Michael gets in his car and begins his trip from the eastern suburb of Box Hill to the western suburb of Braybrook. He’s been making this journey to the west for the last 3 years, and despite it being over an hour drive each way, he has no regrets.

Michael is an Executive Director of the Australian Association of Psychologists, long-time member of the Lord Somers Camp and Power House and on the board of several agribusinesses. Somehow between all this, he manages to squeeze in time to volunteer 3-4 hours each week at Dinjerra Primary School. Dinjerra Primary School is a small and incredibly diverse school with over 30 nationalities. Michael helps with the morning’s breakfast club and literacy programs.

Michael was spurred to volunteer 3 years ago, when he was placed in charge of investigating volunteering opportunities for a positive ageing group at Lord Somers Camp & Power House. “I thought, well if I’m going to be in charge of volunteering, I should volunteer!”. Through Lord Somer’s longstanding connection with Ardoch, Michael was introduced to the community volunteering program, and was soon placed at Dinjerra. “The children and the staff have made me feel part of the school community” says Michael. “This morning when I was doing the breakfast club, the children all came up. They all wanted to talk to me! That is a great delight”.

“Mr Michael” as the students fondly call him, volunteers with Dinjerra’s grades 1/2s and grade 3/4s. In these classes, he provides one-on-one reading support. Sitting with a student, in a gentle and patient manner, he works with them to sound out words and test their comprehension.  His reading sessions are clearly popular. While he is reading with one student, other students approach himpleading “Mr. Michael, I want to come read with you!” and “Can I read with you Mr. Michael?”

For Michael, the most rewarding thing aboutvolunteering iscreating relationships with the students and watching them develop and grow in their abilities. “Seeing how they improve with their reading and comprehension and understanding of it. I enjoy the way they interact with you. I have quite in-depth discussions with them on the story they’re reading, on the meaning of the books. They don’t always understand it but it’s amazing how quickly they pick it up!” remarks Michael “I’ve actually seen some of them go from prep to grade 1 to grade 2 to grade 3, and to watch them develop is fantastic”.

Michael also lends his support to Ardoch’s mock interviews, a program which allows students to practice for an interview and receive feedback and career advice. “What a wonderful program that is, and what a real benefit to the young children involved.  I’ve met some amazing students and I know the future of this country is in good hands” says Michael.

For those interested in volunteering, Michael says “Anybody who’s interested in children, anybody who’s interested in contributing, the work at Ardoch is fantastic. I hope the children get as much out of it as I do!” 

We thank Michael for supporting education in disadvantaged communities.


Ardoch is an education charity that supports children and young people in disadvantaged communities. You can help us by making a donation or signing up as a volunteer.