Meet the staff: Kay Coombes
A love of tennis has led Kay from friends she has made for life to an occupation that helps those in need find their own friends, through In Great Company's volunteer program. Below she shares a bit about herself and her own journey.
What’s your name?
What’s your background in life and in work?
I was born in Japan and moved to Australia in 1996. I have a degree in Psychology and Social Welfare (in Japan). I also studied IT in Sydney for 2 years. I have previously worked for Ernst & Young, IBM, Dow Corning, Amgen and Toshiba mainly in HRIS. In 2008 my family and I moved to Brisbane from Sydney because of my husband’s work. I was a busy full-time mum with two boys at that time. My eldest son was 3 years old and my youngest just a newborn. Then in 2014 we moved to beautiful Gold Coast. We lived in Currumbin and loved the beach lifestyle. It was a beautiful environment for the boys to grow up. We currently live in Port Macquarie, but I really hope to move back to the Gold Coast one day.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
Tennis, I used to play in competitions when I first moved to Australia when I won the NSW Corporate Games, a couple of times in the women’s singles. I am also a Tennis Community Coach.
I also play classical piano, which I started when I was 6 years old. I enjoy playing music written by Chopin, Beethoven, Bach, Mozart and Debussy.
How long have you been in this role?
I joined Feros Care in August 2019. I joined the Casual Pool and began working in the HR team until Oct 2020 when I transitioned into the role I am in currently in.
What attracted you to Feros Care/ In Great Company?
Through my tennis career, I met a lot of great people, some now in nursing homes. I always made sure to stay in contact with them and call regularly. When I saw that in Great Company was doing something like this, it really resonated with me.
What is the most satisfying part of your role?
Hiring the volunteers and completing the onboarding process of a volunteer brings me joy as it is all part of the bigger picture. I believe that the volunteer will go on to make a difference in a senior’s life.
Can you please share with us one of your favourite stories about a client and volunteer?
I feel like Morgan and Alan’s story is really similar to the relationship I have with two of my tennis friends. I regularly contact Margaret McIntyre (82), who lives in Sirius Cove Sydney and Harvey Crooke (86), who lives in St Andrews Tallebudgera. We talk about tennis techniques and I ask them for some advice. Harvey used to be a tennis coach at Currumbin RSL Tennis Club. When Harvey moved into St Andrews Aged Care, he gave his precious tennis racket to my 10 year old son. My son was so delighted and promised Harvey that he will practice hard and become a very good player like Harvey one day.
How valuable do you believe The In Great Company service is?
I think our volunteer service helps connect to the community. I believe giving back and accompanying seniors is a very meaningful way to volunteer. It teaches us how significant it is to help the ones in need. The importance of volunteering lies in the fact that it connects us to the community, and makes it a better place for all of us to live in.
Any last words or thoughts?
When I joined Feros Care in 2019, I read and watched a video made by Feros Care. It was about our Byron Bay client tennis legend Margaret Fisher. My dream was to have a game of tennis with her one day, but sadly she passed away in late 2019. However, she motivated me and gave me the courage to keep playing tennis well into my 80s. I set my goal to follow Margaret’s footsteps to become a no.1 in Australian ladies 80s singles in the future. Wish me good luck Margaret!
If you'd like to become a volunteer with In Great Company and make a senior's life less lonely, you can do so here.
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