Executive Committee of Benvenute Donne di Glenroy

“It’s a lot of hard work but it’s a treasure what we do,” says Assunta Parisse, the President of Benvenute Donne di Glenroy. The group has been running in Glenroy for thirty-eight years this July and currently meets each Thursday at the Glenroy Hub. Benvenute Donne di Glenroy started off with a handful of ladies at the old Broadmeadows Health Centre, but now boasts approximately sixty women ranging in age from sixty-six to a member who is turning ninety-five this year. Seven of the women form the Executive Committee. Says Assunta, “I’m youngest at sixty-six and have been president for twelve years and before that I was involved because I took Mum. I was her full-time carer. I hope someone will do that for me.”

The group meet for a range of activities such as playing bingo, sharing food and celebrations including cultural celebrations, “We have a feast day for St Anthony. We organise cakes. I’m new and have grandchildren at school and I love it!” says Lena. “We give each other support. Some of the women are widows or have lost parents,” explains Assunta. “Knowing you have to go to the club…it gets you motivated. This organisation is the best thing that ever happened,” says Lena.

Describing their nomination for The Extraordinary Women of Glenroy, Assunta says it was, “An honour and a shock. The nomination was a big surprise. We’ve had praise along the line over the years but nothing like this before. It brings up your inner strength in trying to succeed.” The women’s wish for the group is to “Not put the brakes on,” says Louisa. “We want to just keep on going and we’re not going to stop are we girls?” Assunta reiterates. “We come and share, and we are very happy to do,” says Graziela. The women support, motivate and teach each other, and have formed life-long friendships, “Some of the people here are from the same village my parents came from,” says Assunta, “I think the group is part of our life.”