Volunteering in the genes

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Ashley Patterson and Amanda Masters say Kaia Masters (1) will follow their lead and became a volunteer as soon as she is able to. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH.

VOLUNTEERING is a family business for the Pattersons.

Ashley Patterson describes himself as a motorsport fanatic and has transferred his passion to daughter Amanda Masters.

Together with son and brother Michael, they used to watch the races at Invercargill’s Teretonga Park, until a friend invited them to volunteer during race season.

Almost 14 years later, the family continues the tradition with the addition of Mrs Masters’ husband Cody, who also volunteers there.

“We took the opportunity. We discovered that we could help people and do something good while we had a closer look at the action,” Mr Patterson said.

Amanda was 12 when she started to volunteer as a flag marshal.

She said the experience made her a better person.

“I always had this thing in me, to help people. Since [my] school years, I volunteered for different organisations. It is who I am and I think it taught me a lot about kindness and compassion.

“Also, I now have very useful skills. I can tow a car, change a tyre.”

Eighteen months ago, Mrs Masters had her first child, Kaia.

She said her daughter would probably follow in the family footsteps and start to volunteer as soon as she was able.

“She has got no choice,” she said.

“It is something fun to do, to give back to the community with the bonus to do something together as a family.”

Mr Patterson and his family are among 1.2 million New Zealanders who volunteer their time and skills and were recognised during National Volunteer Week last week.

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