Barnardos Mother of the Year Gloria Nascimento was in her element playing with kids at a playgroup at Barnardos' Warrawong centre on Friday.
It's one of the perks of the role for the Kanahooka mum who took out the national title in May due to her support for young cancer patients while caring for her own sick child.
Her 19-year-old daughter, Cassie, died last November after a three-year battle with brain cancer and Mrs Nascimento said being an ambassador for Barnardos was helping her through the tough time.
"Children are my passion," she said.
"I love being around them and it helps me.
"I was honoured to be named the mother of the year and am really enjoying learning about the amazing work that Barnardos does.
"Being here today, and seeing the support that parents are getting to bring up their children is just wonderful."
Barnardos South Coast centre opened in 1990 and 14 programs operate from Warrawong and its outreach sites.
Senior manager Kerry Moore said staff, parents and children enjoyed the visit by Mrs Nascimento to the Greene Street centre.
"We think it's wonderful that the Australian Barnardos mother of the year comes from our region," Ms Moore said.
"To have her here to connect with staff and families is wonderful - she is a woman with a huge heart and a huge passion for children and we've enjoyed showing her around our centre and telling her about the programs we run."
The children taking part in the Friday morning playgroup flocked to Mrs Nascimento's side and she inspired the parents, too.
"I know what she's been through and she's a very brave, inspirational woman," Albion Park father Tyson Sim said.
"To take time out to visit with our kids means a lot to us.
"It's great to raise awareness of the work this centre does, too.
"The staff here have provided me with unbelievable support with my son Joshua, now 18 months, and really helped me build up my confidence and skills as a parent."