A passionate advocate for the benefits of community cricket, Margi Oldfield has been named the winner of the 2021 Burt Volunteer Sport Award for her work with Thornlie Senior High School.
Margi, who is fortunate enough to be a full-time volunteer, says her move into volunteering came after her own children had left home.
“I was wondering where I could take my volunteering, so enrolled as a very mature student to get my diploma of Youth Work,” she said.
“I was really interested in youth justice and providing positive experiences, and reflecting on the positives that teams sports had given my own children, I wanted to become involved in that field removing the barriers kids face to playing sport.
“As Australians we have this misconception that all kids can play sport but it’s just not true because sport is expensive, from registration fees, to equipment, even getting transport to get to games, there are very real barriers.”
Margi linked up with Team Connect, who run a cricket engagement program for young high school girls in nine schools across Perth.
Embedding with the school’s engagement program, Team Connect provide registration fees, equipment and transport to get girls involved in community cricket.
Under Margi’s watchful eye, the Thornlie girls have performed so well they now have three teams, and behaviour standard and grades have also improved.
At the end of the day, however, she volunteers because she loves it.
“I think it’s our responsibility to children to do this,” she said.
“It’s just the right thing.
“We’re very quick to reprimand children but if we build the scaffolding around them to be successful, they will climb that scaffolding and community cricket can be that scaffolding.
“If I could provide this positive experience to every kid in Perth who struggles to access sport I would, it only takes an hour a day and it not only helps them, it helps you, it’s incredibly rewarding.
Team Connect volunteer and partnerships manager Sami Ayre said Margi’s work at Thornlie Senior High School was inspirational.
“She’s been tremendous engaging the girls down there for the last three years,” she said.
“Particularly last year when the schools were blasted by COVID, Margi has still been out and in there when we’ve struggled to find volunteers.
““We’re all volunteers and I think Margie really demonstrates what you can get out of volunteering not just for us, but any organisation that helps the local community.”
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