NAME: Laura Parkes
We are inspired by our incredible group of professional volunteers who never cease to show us what generosity looks like in action. Laura Parkes, Mother’s Choice volunteer, shares how she leveraged her professional skills having worked in human resources at a multi-national organization in order to help Mother’s Choice builds capacity.
(1) How did you first hear about Mother’s Choice?
I first heard about Mother’s Choice from a friend who had adopted with help from Mother’s Choice.
(2) What made you decide to volunteer with Mother’s Choice?
It took me around a year to take the plunge and initially apply to volunteer in Child Care Home. For some reason I worried that between work and my social life, I wouldn’t be able to commit, but as soon as I started volunteering this fear disappeared. From the first time I spent an afternoon at Mothers Choice, I knew this would be one of the most meaningful ways I could spend my free time. From there, playing with and caring for the small children in the childcare home very naturally became one of my priorities. A few years later, when I became pregnant, I could no longer volunteer in the same capacity, and at that point, I offered my professional skills. A new journey started: one of volunteering in Human Resources. Over the past couple of years, I have been able to provide coaching to employees and support projects related to the recruitment, training, and development of employees and volunteers.
(3) What was your most memorable experience?
I actually met my (now) husband one evening after volunteering. I had received a call from Mothers Choice last minute to see if I could help as they were low on volunteers and several children were feeling unwell. I dashed over after work and spent the evening caring for a dear little boy who was under the weather and nursing him to sleep. After my shift, I was makeup-less and disheveled but decided to stop at a local restaurant for a bite to eat alone. There I got talking to a man who was also dining alone about the work I’d been doing at Mothers Choice…. and just two years later we were married and expecting a baby of our own.
(4) What impressed you most at Mother’s Choice?
What impressed me most is that Mother’s Choice continually strives to do more to positively impact the lives of pregnant teenagers and children without homes in Hong Kong. Over the years I have met so many wonderful employees and volunteers from all walks of life and who bring a diverse mix of skills. They have each been able to contribute somehow to change the life story of a teenage girl or a child in Hong Kong.
(5) What is your hope for Mother’s Choice?
I hope that Mother’s Choice continues their amazing partnership and collaboration across the community in Hong Kong — be that across the welfare sector, with corporations, or with individuals to see every child in a safe, loving, and permanent family.