Profile: Fran Appleton

Carrie Unser - Thursday, May 17, 2012


Fran Appleton, is quite literally, the apple of our eye.

Volunteering in ADRA’s office in Wahroonga, Sydney, for the past four years, Fran admits she doesn’t like the limelight and is more of a ‘background’ person, but we can’t help but tell everyone how much we appreciate and love her work.

After retiring, Fran still had the desire to help out where she could, so she contacted Volunteer NSW who in turn placed her with ADRA Australia. Was she nervous, excited or scared about starting at ADRA?

“No, I was delighted to be able to work here,” Fran says with a smile.

Why on earth would anyone want to continue work, and for free, when they are most entitled to sit back and relax?

“I’d retired from my job and wanted to stay in the community service sector,” says Fran. “Volunteering is stimulating, and keeps you involved.”

“I find it completely and utterly rewarding.”

Now, once a week (or twice if needed!) Fran arrives at ADRA, with her signature cup of coffee to kick-start her day, and helps update our database, keep track of our receipting and ledger filing while also being called upon to answer the phones when things get a bit hairy.

“This really is the best place in the world to work,” says Fran with a genuine smile – and without any prompting.

“From day one, I felt so very welcome and included in things going on around the office.”

“I consider it an absolute privilege to work here.” She’s gushing now.

But we think the real star is Fran, who not only volunteers at ADRA but also one day a week at another organisation.

An incredibly hard worker who is brilliant at what she does, Fran is now an integral part of our office; we really don’t know what we’d do without her.

It seems, in an effort to not talk about herself, Fran just wants to talk about ADRA.

“This organisation is just brilliant. I am in awe of the staff and the work that you do here.”

Thankfully, we got to write this article, which is lucky, because we get the last say.

Fran we think you’re great.

We want to say thanks to Fran, and the hundreds of other volunteers around the country, who dedicate hours to serving others.

You are the real ADRA. You are the ones changing the lives of those around you. We are proud of you. We are thankful for you. And we praise God for you!

Happy National Volunteers Week!

Learn more about ADRA’s work in Australia and discover how you too can volunteer for ADRA today!

Profile: Bob and Dawn Blizard

Carrie Unser - Tuesday, May 15, 2012


They never expected to be spending their retirement years this way, but for Bob and Dawn Blizard an ADRA Op Shop has become an almost all-consuming passion.

From its humble beginnings way back in 1990, Bob and Dawn have stayed with the ADRA Op Shop in Bindoon, WA, through thick and thin.

“Our local church wanted to start recycling clothes and items,” says Dawn, “and from there it was decided to open a shop. And it’s still here today.” And so are Bob and Dawn – never did they anticipate they’d be part of an op shop, let alone volunteer with one for so long.

Their op shop is located on the Great Northern Highway heading north east into West Australia. The route is popular with tourists, but more than that the shop has become a destination in its own right. On weekends the shop becomes a melting pot of personalities.

When asked what she enjoys most about working at the op shop Dawn doesn’t even think twice, “you get to meet some really interesting people.”

What makes their op shop special?

“We like to keep our shop neat and tidy,” says Bob. “That’s what most people comment on when they see our shop.” It’s a comment heard often in ADRA’s network of op shops across the country.

After such a longstanding presence in their local community it’s no surprise the ADRA Op Shop in Bindoon has gained a bit of a reputation – a good one that is.

“Our op shop is now the community op shop – they’ve claimed it,” laughs Dawn. “People call it the social centre of Bindoon.”

As the managers of the op shop, Bob and Dawn are blessed with a hardworking staff of 21 volunteers who are dedicated to serving their community. So dedicated, some will often come in on a Sunday when they’re not even rostered on, “Sunday is a fun day,” says Dawn.

Unassuming and humble as always, Bob and Dawn don’t seek any accolades for their 22 years of service. “We’ve always just done what was in front of us,” says Bob.

ADRA would like to send a huge THANK YOU to Bob and Dawn – you have done, and are doing, an incredible job serving your local community and continuing ADRA’s ministry here in Australia.

To all our volunteers we say thank you for the countless hours of effort you’ve poured into your op shops and projects, and for being an inspiring example of Christ-like service.

Thank you!

Learn more about ADRA’s work in Australia and discover how you too can volunteer for ADRA today!