Mother of five Barbara Bates is an integral part of Ardeer South Primary School.
She talks to Alexandra Laskie about her busy schedule and what makes her happy.
What’s your connection to Brimbank?
I grew up in Braybrook, so not that far [from Sunshine].
I’ve lived in Brimbank for 20 years. I’m over in Derrimut now.
It’s changed a lot; the housing.
Where I live now, I remember it was all empty paddocks. It happened very quickly.
I’m a Totty North girl (since renamed Dinjerra Primary School), then Braybrook Secondary College, and my kids go there now.
And I’ve been at Ardeer South Primary School since 2002, when my first child started.
How did your involvement begin?
I don’t know, I was involved with the (Sunshine Heights) kindergarten.
I just love helping. It’s hard to say.
See, I grew up with parents who weren’t involved; my parents’ attitude was when they’re at school, it’s the school’s problem – and I don’t know, I just felt I want to be involved and close to my kids.
My attitude is, they’re my kids.
Aside from your role as school council president, and looking after your five children, do you have time for work?
I work evenings for Coles supermarkets, trolley collection and clean-up part-time at Burnside.
When I start, my husband’s still not home, so that’s when the big sister or big brother steps up.
What do you feel passionately about?
I’m passionate about my kids, that’s probably a stupid thing, but they’re my kids.
I love watching them do sports.
What hopes and dreams do you have for them?
That they’re happy. I don’t care, as long as they can look me in the eye and say they’ve done their best.
What do you like about this area?
I absolutely love the school – even when we moved out of the area, the kids were coming to the school no matter what, even if there was a bit of travel.
Before we decided to come here, we had checked out other schools, and this school was the only one that you didn’t have to make an appointment for, you could literally rock up and the principal would drop what he’s doing and will give you a tour – and I love that.
It shows that they are interested.
And I love the way that, if we have a barbecue on a Saturday, teachers show-up, they come and help as well, even though they don’t have to.
They’re just as passionate as us parents are.
What would you change about the area?
Really nothing, I absolutely love this area, I wouldn’t live anywhere else.
Do you have any favourite places?
I love the Glengala Hotel because there’s an excellent playground for the kids.
I love places that cater for kids as well.
Did you always want lots of children?
No, I didn’t want any. I met my husband in high school.
We dated in high school and then we decided on two, and then the more we had it got harder to tally.
Where do you take visitors to show off your neighbourhood?
I absolutely love Sunshine Market Place.