Help is always at hand

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Franzine Karamfiles has been heavily involved with volunteering in the community since the early 2000s.
Camera IconFranzine Karamfiles has been heavily involved with volunteering in the community since the early 2000s. Credit: Tari Jeffers/Manjimup-Bridgetown Times, Tari JeffersPicture: Tari Jeffers

From squash and school to fashion and food, Franzine Karamfiles has been involved with various volunteering endeavours for almost 20 years.

A nominee for this year’s Shire of Manjimup Citizen of the Year, Franzine has been a dedicated community member since the mid-1990s.

Born in New South Wales, Franzine moved to WA in 1981. Her move to the region happened in her gap year after she completed a double major in hospitality management and marketing.

In Bridgetown to visit her mum and working at Greenbushes Mill, she met Sam Karamfiles and moved to Manjimup in early 1995.

She began working at Manjimup Trading Company, which Sam had just built.

Franzine and Sam married in 1996 and their children Minni and Zac, born in 1997 and 1999 respectively, followed soon after.

Her foray into volunteering began in 2002 as a member of the Manjimup Primary School P&C, where she remained for a decade.

Many of her early volunteering roles began as involvement in her children’s activities, including The Studio of Classical & Contemporary Dance Manjimup & Bunbury and the Warren Districts Little Athletics Association.

“Any of the sporting committees, P&C, dance, that’s what I was interested in because the kids were there,” Franzine said.

“You need people to be involved to keep those small groups running.”

The first activity Franzine took up completely for herself was belly dancing about a decade ago.

She and a friend started lessons at the Manjimup Family Centre and even when the classes fell away, they began getting choreography online and meeting with other dance groups a few times before doing a performance.

“It’s my passion, it’s good exercise and it’s just good for you,” Franzine said.

A lot of people would know Franzine through her involvement in groups such as the Manjimup Squash Club, Dunreath Cottages Inc management board, Manjimup Family Centre and the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival, which were all volunteering roles she picked up in the last decade.

“I was invited to join the Dunreath Cottages management committee, just because I’ve got experience in the community and in business,” she said.

“I joined the family centre board because I was involved in dance and performing arts and fundraising.”

Franzine has been involved with the Manjimup Cherry Harmony Festival for almost 15 years.

She began as a volunteer and sub-committee member in 2006 and last year became the committee’s treasurer.

“I was ready to do that, I felt that I had enough experience to do that because it is a big role,” she said. What started as involvement for her children, Franzine’s engagement in squash has grown for her own enjoyment and she is now the senior club co-ordinator, junior club co-ordinator and fundraising officer.

“In the junior competition, now we have anywhere from 18 to 25 kids turning up to do some training and play pennants,” she said.

“That’s definitely developed over the last six years and that’s a big thing.

“It’s really important for kids to try diverse sport, not everyone wants to play football or cricket or soccer, so it’s really good to have diversity.”

Other clubs that Franzine is a volunteer for include the Manjimup Aero Club and Manjimup Speedway.

“If someone asks or they need help and I can do it, I do it,” she said.

“I think it’s important to be involved in the community and as self-employed business owners, we’re involved in the community that way and we can’t survive without people supporting us.

“It’s giving back — I like doing things with people and for people.”

Franzine encourages others to try volunteering and said there was something for everyone’s strengths and the community would only be better for it.

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