Sam Turner was 17 when she first inquired about volunteering.

Told she was too young, Sam phoned back a year later – on her 18th birthday.

“I finished school at the end of Year 11 and I wanted to do something to keep busy,’’ Sam said. 

Driven by her love of children, Sam began volunteering with a mobile crèche service which was then part of the Northern Parent Resource Program.

Eighteen years later, she is still giving her time to the crèche, now run by Centacare at different sites across the north.

“I didn’t think I’d ever have children of my own so initially it was a good way to be around kids while helping out others,’’ Sam said.

“I think the joy of watching the little ones grow up has been the best bit.

“I play darts with one of the mums of the children I looked after in my first crèche I ever did. They’ve finished high school now. It makes me feel old!’’

One of 80 volunteers at Centacare, the mother-of-three (she has two boys and an “angel baby in heaven’’) balances volunteering with a hectic home life.

Her oldest son, Thomas, arrived early at 25 weeks. Small and fragile, he required intensive neonatal care at Flinders Medical Centre.

Her youngest, Joshua, is one month old.

“I somehow just find the time to keep going,’’ Sam said.

Dubbed the `baby whisperer’ by Centacare Volunteer Coordinator Vicki Giacomin, Sam said knowing she had a positive impact on the families she meets along the way was all the reward she needed.

“It makes me feel good when mums say I’ve had a positive impact on their child,’’ she said.

*Sam’s role is being highlighted as part of National Volunteer Week, an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. The theme for this year is `making a world of difference’. For more information, visit Volunteering Australia. For more information about volunteering at Centacare, visit our website or phone Vicki Giacomin on 8252 2311.