"Volunteering with Friends 2018 – 2022”  - The Foundation of the Satellite Club of Box Hill Central.
The Satellite Club or “Volunteering With Friends” as it was originally known, came about through connecting a collection of women, the majority who were unknown to each other but all had a desire to be part of something new and exciting. Towards the end of 2018 as Annie Balla concluded years of commitment to her children’s school committees and fundraising activities, she decided she needed to continue volunteering in some capacity.
Looking for hands on projects and valuing the collective benefits of teamwork and comradery of working together, Annie invited 25 friends and acquaintances to meet for coffee on Friday 7th December 2018 in Balwyn. Leading up to this meeting, her husband Rotarian Mark (RCBHC) had helped formulate the concept of being an independent volunteer group that also has the benefits of being part of Rotary International with insurance cover, access to limitless projects to support and ready-made network with people with a social conscience. Also meeting with us on that day was the current President of the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central, Olive Aumann, Past DG Jenny Coburn, President-Elect Gay Morris and President Nominee Mark Balla. A presentation from these delegates highlighted how it could be possible for Rotary to support us to be a Satellite Club. The format would meet our needs as being flexible and responsive to the busy lives of our members as we could set out own projects, meeting times and frequency. The social aspect was seen as valuable in connecting whilst working on common goals and the name ”Volunteering With Friends” was decided on.
In January 2019 we met again ready to find who of the group is committed to staying on as a Rotary Satellite Club. We had 8 foundation members: Chair Annie Balla, Directors Lynette Macdonald and Jo Whifin, Treasurer Wendy Canobie, Secretary Tess Brooks, Tracey Guorgi, Heather Housler and Virginia Norsworthy. Our first meetings were at members’ homes and the first months were spent in group excursion to see possible projects we could support as well as Rotary entities such as the Recycle Shop and Donations in Kind, also visiting Dream Stitches and a Days For Girls Chapter.
As a group we supported the International Women’s Day Breakfast and ran our first fundraiser on August 29th 2019; a movie night that raised finds for the then drought affected farming families through the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners.
Foundation and induction of members 12th June 2019
Over the first 12 months we invited guest speakers and followed up on suggestions from our members to find out more about projects that we could work with on a regular basis.
Significant organisations found at that time continue to be a focus for us as we were inspired from their founder’s work:
  1. Kathy Kaplan  - Impact for Women
  2. Steve Argent from OrphFund (Now I Am Someone)
Other organisations that we continue to support are:
  1. Children’s Ground
  2. Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
During COVID lockdowns we continued to meet over Zoom and had plans postponed to support I AM Someone with an exhibition and the Melbourne launch of their rebranded charity. Meetings were a valuable wellness check in as our members had by this time forged strong bonds and friendships.  Over the first 3 years we gained three new members Vivienne Liu, Michelle Adams and Debbie Brierley.
In July 2022 our first changeover was conducted at the same time as the Rotary Club of Box Hill Central and Tess Brooks took on the role of Chair, Vivienne Liu; Treasurer and Tracey Guorgi as Secretary.
To this day the structure and ethos of the Satellite club continues with meetings once a month, usually a dinner venue or over Zoom, and up to 2 action days in between where members may be found at markets supporting ‘I am Someone’, conducting food drives for ASRC or packing bags of love for Impact for women.
              To contact the satellite club email: