International Volunteer Day on 5 December is a unique opportunity for KPSC to celebrate our amazing community of volunteers and to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among our community. Volunteers are the glue that keep our football club together. Without them our club just wouldn’t operate. Our community of volunteers perform a variety of roles within the club from ground and facility keepers, team managers, coaches, canteen officers, fundraising and events, committee members, security, communications and media, sponsorship and grants, and many more.
The club recently received a certificate of recognition award from the Play by the Rules organisation for its submission “supporting volunteers”, which was 1 of 131 submissions received. We are also delighted to announce our case study will be published on the Play by the Rules website. The key focus of the submission was to focus on our volunteers who are the life blood of our club and to honour our longest standing volunteer family – Charlie and Margaret Cassar, who have volunteered for the club for 47 years. The KPSC community rallied around the Cassar family in late 2019 when Charlie was diagnosed with bone cancer. The club provided the Cassar family various forms of financial and emotional support and assistance.
The club commenced an initiative to fundraise monies and to volunteer their time and effort to redevelop the club bar, naming it after Charlie Cassar. This bought our volunteer community together more than ever to honour and reward KPSC’s number one fan Charlie. The plan was to unveil the opening of the bar at the start of the season at the first senior men’s game, together with a past and present players function – however got in the way.
Unfortunately, Charlie was unable to see the new bar in person passing away on the 2nd July 2020. This had an overwhelming emotional impact on our club and the wider soccer community with the passing of the club’s mentor and father figure. Posts on social media illustrated the impact of what one volunteer like Charlie is to our club. Posts from people who had known Charlie for years, to those who have passed through our club as visitors illustrate the impact Charlie and Margaret had on our members and the wider soccer community.
The club rallied further as one community during these difficult times and created a Go Fund Me Page to raise $10,000 to provide financial assistance to the Cassar Family and help with the wish of Charlie and his family to make Keilor cemetery his final resting place. This was a testimony to a volunteer that had given his heart and soul to the club and was widely loved by all of the soccer community.
Once Covid restrictions ease further, the club plans to hold a series of events to honour Charlie, like an official opening of the bar with Club family and friends, with the opportunity to continue fund raising to support Margaret. The annual club tournament has now also been renamed as the Cassar Keilor Parks SC tournament.
On this day, we also pay tribute and pay a gratitude if thanks to our jack of all trades volunteer – Paul Portelli who retired as President of the club in 2020 after serving in this role and many others for a significant period. Paul performed many functions around the club wide and varied and we look forward to working with Paul in the journey ahead as part of our Strategic advisory team. There is also a long list of people to thank that have been such key volunteers in making this club what it is today. A special mention to these volunteers for all their efforts over the years and especially through the challenges of 2020: Nigel Peterson, Eric Psarianos, Terry Papadopoulos, Joce Todorov, Alex Stavrakoulis, Anthony Santiglia and Mark Stella for their amazing efforts in helping with the construction of the Cassar bar. Once last thank you to all those that haven’t named you support and help has been invaluable.
On this day of international volunteer celebration, we are very grateful and send a big thanks to our community of volunteers and we look forward to season ahead as our community of volunteers will be needed more than ever with the departure of club President Paul Portelli. We have amazing momentum and energy illustrated with the recent high level of volunteers participating in the strategic and business planning sessions and record attendances at our November 2020 AGM meeting. We look forward to our members building a positive and contributing family fun culture around the club for the remainder of the year, season 2021 and the journey ahead.