Port Lincoln Times: Baillie mum of the year

PORT Lincoln mother of four Sarah Baillie has been named the South Australian Barnardos Mother of the Year after she was secretly nominated by her daughter Kiara Baillie.

Ms Baillie, 38, was living hand-to-mouth, when she made the courageous decision to move away from the negative influences in her life and as a single mother of two relocate her son and daughter, secure paid employment and enrol in TAFE to further her prospects.

Now a mother of four, Ms Baillie works in a special school and has one year of university left before completing her degree.

Kiara said she was in Adelaide graduation dress shopping with her mother when she saw an advertisement for the awards.

“I started thinking about the nomination and what I would say and how inspiring she is not just to us but to so many people in the community,”she said.

“Being married at 19 and giving birth to her first child at only 20, Mum was forced to mature and become the inspiring woman she is today.”

“If Mum didn’t decide to change her lifestyle and work hard for what she wants, my two brothers, step-sister and I would not be the people we are today.”

Ms Baillie said she learned about her nomination and that she had made the top six in the same phone call.

“I was shocked to learn I had been nominated for Barnardos Mother of the Year,” she said.

“I thought it was a prank phone call so to then receive the call a few weeks later to be told I would be named Mother of the Year for South Australia was truly touching.”

Ms Baillie said there was no way she could describe how she felt about being nominated. She said she tried to lead by example for her children and to be a positive role model.

“There is not really a way to describe it – it means that without trying, something has resonated with Kiara,” Ms Baillie said.

“We all have hardship and times of need but to be able to show my children that it is up to us to defy odds and make the decision for a better future is the best gift I could give them.”

Ms Baillie now progresses to the national final in Sydney in May where she will join the other state and territory winners for the announcement of the Barnardos Mother of the Year 2018.

In Sydney, Ms Ballie and Kiara will also spend time learning about the work of Barnardos and will get to meet and get to know the other state and territory finalists.

(This article was first published in the The Port Lincoln Times and was written by Olivia Barnes.)