Most people may know her as Joy, but Maria Goodridge has a true passion for the Murray Bridge community.
During the early 1980's, Maria's friend introduced her to an Australian man that would later become her husband, but after getting married, he returned to Australia, prompting Maria to join him, starting her journey in Australia.
"I longed to have a family and take care of my own family... that's how I had a family in Australia," Maria said.
10 years after migrating to Australia, Maria and her husband moved to Murray Bridge, starting another important journey in Maria's life.
Maria struggled with cultural and language barriers when she arrived, but through volunteering, meeting new people and making friends in the Murray Bridge community, she was able to overcome those struggles.
"Murray Bridge has been a very nice community, they have been very accepting and supportive and willing to give new migrants opportunities to start a new life in a strange land," Maria said.
"The friendliness extended to me as a new migrant has allowed me an easier transition to a new life."
Some of Maria's volunteering achievements include being a volunteer for the Filipino Settlement Coordinating Council of South Australia (FSCCSA) for 19 years, a volunteer for the Filipino Network of South Australia from 2008 to 2019 and the President of the Murraylands Filipino Australian Association from 2003 to 2015.
Maria's volunteering became more than just overcoming an obstacle but a passion that she has used to inform the Murraylands' Filipino community of local events or projects.
Earlier this year, Maria was celebrated for her contribution to not only the Filipino community but the Murray Bridge community as a whole.
The International Women's Day Association of South Australia presented Maria with the Irene Krastev Award - an award recognising a woman from a migrant or refugee background who has made significant contributions to their community.
Maria will be showcasing her award and giving a short presentation at the upcoming Murray Bridge All Culture Fest.
The festival is one of many celebrations of the multicultural community in Murray Bridge and concludes the Refugee Week celebrations.
"The local council is very supportive of the multiculturalism in the Murraylands area and this can be seen in the form of the yearly multicultural festival," Maria said.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.