Victim Support | Lions roar their approval of Victim Support staff member Donna
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Lions roar their approval of Victim Support staff member Donna

Lions roar their approval of Victim Support staff member Donna

When Donna Smith, our Service Coordinator in the Tasman area was invited to a Nelson North Lions Club meeting in February, she assumed it was to be given a donation.  Donna had been along to talk to members in the past about the work of Victim Support and she knew the team was keen to help.

So she was very surprised to hear her name mentioned in a speech by John Rodger the 202E District Governor, about the Lions Club International Foundation. “I was really shocked and amazed,” said Donna.  “I was being presented with the Melvin Jones Fellow Award!”

Lions Clubs world-wide recognise outstanding individuals by bestowing on them an award that is named for its founder, Melvin Jones.  This award is the highest form of recognition and embodies humanitarian ideas consistent with the nature and purpose of Lionism.

“It is a very special honour,” said Donna, “because this award is not often given outside of the Lions family.  I was a Lioness in the past but I had to give it up because of pressure of other work.”

Donna has been a Service Coordinator for Victim Support for three and a half years. She took up opportunities very early in the role, becoming an After-Hours Service Advisor long before it became mandatory, and volunteering to become the South Island Health and Safety Rep.   Initially coordinating the Nelson Bays area and now coordinating Nelson and Marlborough.  Donna is always happy to help out other areas when required.

Donna is a very active volunteer in her community: she is a Justice of the Peace, is a member of the local Restorative Justice Trust, a shared government and community response to criminal offending. Donna is also involved in the Accessibility for All forum.  Accessibility for All examines the accessibility for everyone in the Tasman region, aiming to ensure that both public and private facilities and activities are inclusive. The forum also works on developing practical solutions to accessibility barriers in consultation with council projects.

“The Nelson North Lions Club went to a lot of trouble to have me nominated for the award, Donna said.  “They are a small group of fantastic people who are always busy – they do amazing work for our community.”

Not only did Donna leave with a splendid trophy and a dazed and happy smile, but the club also presented her with a donation for Victim Support of $200!

“It’s the first time I’ve been speechless for a long, long time”, laughed a delighted Donna.