It’s the passion of individuals that gives life and momentum to organisations, particularly in the not- for- profit sector. Without it organisations can lose their focus, lose their way and forget their purpose.
Passion is worth far more than money and passion is precisely the quality that Barbara Peach brought to Grow.
Barbara has just stepped down from the Board, ending a thirty-year connection that started in Victoria’s Gippsland Region, in 1989.
When her youngest child was 10, Barbara who knew nothing about Grow, successfully applied for a fieldworker role and she says she was genuinely amazed when she was introduced to the Organisation.
“I was just blown away by the spirit of friendship and the trust in the Grow meetings, the level of sharing and the fact that they trusted me, when I was just coming in as an observer.”
Barbara says learning the Grow Program was like being paid to undertake a self-development course that she says is so good, it should be taught in primary schools.
“It’s literally people loving one another back to health.”
It didn’t take long before Barbara’s value to Grow became obvious. Her commitment to the Program and her drive saw her quickly rise to the role of Victorian State Manager and then Manager for both Victoria and Tasmania.
“I’ve seen miraculous transformations; people who’ve been caught in a revolving door, in and out of psychiatric wards, back at university and working and raising families. It’s amazing stuff. “
Barbara says that even though she’s not experienced issues with her own mental health, the Grow Program has enriched her life, helping her to better manage life’s inevitable challenges and to take any trouble in her stride.
She says that after she became a manager, she continued to operate at the coal face, keeping close to Growers, leading them by example to live the Program and develop their leadership qualities.
After 16 years as a paid worker, Barbara left Grow but she wanted to continue to share her knowledge and understanding of the Grow Program and continued to contribute as a volunteer, helping to train new fieldworkers and other staff, filling in when staff were on holidays and opening Grow Groups.
In the meantime, Barbara’s husband had also become a strong supporter of the Grow Program. He joined the Board and was later appointed Chair of the National Grow Board.
“I would bring Grow friends home and he was impressed by how they would develop and change.”
Barbara was asked to join the Board and has continued in that role, serving Grow as a volunteer, bringing her passion and her love for Grow to the Organisation and playing a very significant role in Grow’s ongoing success.
Barbara says being part of Grow was a truly enriching experience and a great privilege. She was particularly happy to have known and worked with Grow’s founder, Con Keogh.
“He was an amazing teacher and a very humble person; learning from him and spending time with him was a big plus.”
Barbara leaves Grow, answering the call of ten grandchildren, but she’ll always be guided by the Grow Program. Her passion, her love for the Grow Program and the difference it made in people’s lives, helped keep a fire burning for those in need of the Grow Program today and into the future.
In parting, Barbara would like to remind us “that our real grounds for joy, gratitude and hope are ALWAYS greater than our grounds for sorrow, anger and fear,” and concludes by wishing all, “the best in life and love and happiness.”