‘Birthright mum’ Ruth retires

LOYAL: Birthright Canterbury family visitor volunteer Ruth Logan (left), pictured with Birthright Canterbury, Ashburton social worker Christine Muff, has helped hundreds of parents and grandparents raising children on their own.
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After 32 years volunteering as a family visitor with Birthright Ashburton, Ruth Logan has retired.

The 78-year-old has supported hundreds of families during her time with the charity, which helps parents and grandparents raising children on their own.

Ruth is a former kindergarten teacher.

‘‘I knew about Birthright before I started volunteering. Every year my two children would choose gifts themselves to go under the Birthright Christmas tree,’’ Ruth said.

‘‘I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be a kindy teacher forever. Once I had reduced my hours, but was still working, I decided to volunteer with Birthright,’’ she said.

‘‘For most of the families I have supported, the mum or dad want another adult to talk to,’’ she said.

‘‘It could be for advice, to share what’s going on in their life and family, talk through a problem or issue, and bounce ideas off me,’’ Ruth said.

Birthright offers a range of services nationwide.

The services provided in Ashburton include a coffee group, activities after school and in the holidays, gifts at birthdays and Christmas, referrals to specialist agencies, some financial assistance with school requirements, and access to resources and information.

Ruth said it was great some of the children she had worked with now came up to her and say ‘‘You’re my Birthright mum’’. ‘‘We were a big part of each other’s lives,’’ she said.

It was a role she had always undertaken voluntarily, despite some years ago volunteers being offered payment.

‘‘When we started with Birthright, they offered to pay us volunteers. I never took it. I told them I didn’t want it,’’ Ruth said.

She said she was grateful for her upbringing and the value of caring for others her parents taught her.

‘‘When I retired from the role I was working with five to six families, but at one point I worked with 16 families,’’ Ruth said.

At present Birthright Ashburton has about 70 families on its books.

Ruth said one of the changes she had noticed over the years was some families not being as grateful for whatever help and support they received.

A small minority had an attitude of expecting others, including the government, to be providing for them.

‘‘Some won’t take responsibility for things like alcohol and drug use, and as such sometimes its the children who miss out,’’ she said.

Birthright Canterbury Ashburton social worker Christine Muff praised her retiring volunteer.

‘‘Ruth’s families have always spoken very highly of her. She often goes above and beyond for them.

‘‘I have had lots of positive comments about Ruth and how she has helped families. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and her advice was sought after,’’ Muff said.

Muff said in her 20 years with the organisation she has noticed the pressure on single parents to get out to work had increased.

‘‘I think families are dealing with more complex issues these days than they have in the past,’’ Muff said.