From putting shoes on to acting as a taxi service, Myra Langdon has been a friendly and dependable face for vulnerable minors through the Department for Child Protection's volunteer service.
Myra, who turns 75 in September 2023, has been named Volunteer of the Year at the 2023 SA Child Protection Awards.
Children and young people in touch with the child protection system have often experienced significant trauma and issues affecting their families including domestic violence, mental illness, drug use and poverty; often a combination of these factors.
For more than 25 years, Myra drove children to and from access visits with family members, or to school or appointments.
She loved developing a rapport with the children and seeing them open up, trust her and share more conversation. Sometimes, the children she worked with were beaming when she arrived, and chatty during the journey.
"There were a lot of kids that when they saw me they'd run out," she said.
"They might say, 'Myra, Can you help me put my shoes on?'."
Others were quiet, but opened up as she got to know them over transport relationships that sometimes lasted up to a year.
The Kiwi moved to Australia about 35 years ago, first living in Melbourne and later moving to Adelaide's northern suburbs. She now lives in the city's northern rural outskirts.
"I came here for a holiday and forgot to go home," Myra said.
"When (my daughter) went to school, I thought, 'I'm not going to stay home and do nothing, this is boring'."
Myra and a friend attended an information session about the volunteer program, which set her on the path to almost three decades of service to children in care.
Myra "couldn't believe" what some of the children in care had experienced, and wanted to do what she could to support them.
She served the organisation for about 26 years and has just retired from her role.
About 300 nominations were received across 12 categories in the awards, which recognise those who go above and beyond to enrich the lives of children and young people.
The Department for Child Protection hosted the initiative, in partnership with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN).
The awards were presented at a ceremony at Adelaide Oval on September 8, 2023, during National Child Protection Week.
To register your interest in volunteering, call 0492 000 743 or visit https://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/volunteers.
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