SANDRA Hunt has always been an amazing mum to her children and foster children and the people in her life know she’s one of a kind. Nothing has or will ever change that fact, except now the whole of New South Wales realises how amazing she is too.
In an emotional ceremony, the Bolwarra Heights mum was recently announced the NSW Mother of the Year in the Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year Awards 2010.
Sandra says she was surprised, humbled and honoured when she heard her name announced and was presented the award by Premier of NSW Kristina Keneally.
“I was shocked and wasn’t expecting it,” she recalls, humbly, “I always thought all mothers do a good job and each and every one one deserves an award.”
The desire to become a foster mum has been with Sandra her entire life and was inspired by her own adopted mother. At just six weeks old, Sandra, who is indigenous, was adopted by a white family.
“I wanted to give something back to the community; especially after all I’d been given, "she explains. "When I was growing up I was treated just the same as my siblings and I couldn’t have asked for a better family. We often had foster kids from all walks of life come stay with us for short periods. While it was sad to see them go, the experience was also rewarding.”
It was about six or seven years ago when Sandra decided it was time to foster children. Sandra and her husband, Wayne, already had three children of their own and had lost another child at just eight weeks of age. Happily, the couple fostered two children, then another two soon followed and now they’re all one big happy family of nine.
Asked how she manages such a large household, Sandra casually says: “You’ve got to have a good routine and it gets really busy in the afternoons around sports and dancing times, but it’s worth it. I’m very lucky my husband doesn’t mind babysitting while I have time-out with my girlfriends.”
All of the children she fostered have behavioural problems and one has disabilities. Despite any obstacles, Sandra’s love and dedication has helped the children blossom, according to Deborah Gorman, Sandra’s friend who nominated her.
“Sandra has a natural way with children,” Deborah says, “all the children are thriving due to Sandra’s support and devotion to them. They now have a stability and normality in their lives that they didn’t have before.”
As well as her commitments at home, Sandra is a volunteer at the Land Council monthly meetings and encourages her children to be aware of Aboriginal culture.
Celebrating its 15th year, Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year Awards is the only national event that recognises the achievements of mothers and their enormous contribution to the Australian community.
Sandra will attend the national announcement gala dinner at The Ivy in Sydney alongside seven other state and territory finalists on Thursday, 6 May 2010. There, one will be named the Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year 2010, but winning doesn’t matter to Sandra: “I am already in exactly the right place doing what I love best.”
Read more about the Barnardos Australia’s Mother of the Year Awards 2010.
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