It Began with a Passion


A school holiday program for young children with disabilities is providing Melissa McCallum with meaningful work in a field she’s passionate about.

Melissa has many qualities which make her perfect for work with children but her own disability puts a formal qualification in childcare out of reach.  As a volunteer with Gateways Support Services holiday program in Geelong, Melissa gives young children with intellectual disability the one on one attention they need to fully engage and participate in all the activities on offer.

“The staff make it my responsibility to focus on 2 or 3 kids.  I get to know them, help them and keep an eye on them”, Melissa said.

In the Easter holidays Melissa put her skills to good use encouraging the children to get involved in a visiting reptile show.

“One of the kids wanted to get up close to one of the snakes but didn’t want to touch it. I didn’t really want to either but I had to hold a snake and they ended up draping it around my neck,” Melissa says with a laugh.

Melissa leads a busy life, also working in food preparation for catering and events at Dial a Lunch (DAL) and regularly enjoys activities out with friends, but she still plans to volunteer again next school holidays.

When asked why she volunteers with Gateways’ holiday program Melissa doesn’t hesitate to answer, “The kids, I love the kids”.

Gateways Holiday Program is staffed by highly trained staff who work closely with all volunteers.  To find out more about volunteering go to:

Pictured (left to right): Declan, Melissa McCallum and Marven at Gateways Holiday Program, Greenville Kindergarten, Geelong.