She is a big sister, mother and aunty all rolled into one – lending a hand whenever there is a teenage girl in need.
Wollongong volunteer Gina Mammone is a lifeline for many young girls in the region suffering abuse and violence, parental drug addiction, loss, illness or depression – but she would be the last person to draw attention to it.
The humble 45-year-old, who works behind-the-scenes in the Life Changing Experience Foundation’s SISTER2sister program, mentors a team of Illawarra women dedicated to helping disadvantaged teen girls get back on their feet.
Last week Mrs Mammone and her team were recognised at the 2012 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony for their tireless efforts helping girls achieve goals and move forward with their life in a positive way.
And while she welcomed the award, Mrs Mammone said she the work was more rewarding than the recognition.
‘‘For me [volunteering with the program] was just about giving someone the same opportunities that I had when I was younger,’’ she said.
‘‘I love being a part of something where, through little things, you can make a big difference.
‘‘If these girls reach a goal – whether it is finishing that part of school or doing well in an exam – then that helps their self esteem and makes a huge difference in their lives.
‘‘You don’t do it to get something out of it, you do it because you want to give something to someone who has not had the same opportunities.’'