For 20 years, one woman has dedicated her life to helping children both at home and abroad.
Born and bred in Wagga, Kelli Vernon (nee Tye) has taken to heart the lesson from her grandmother - always to help people.
"My grandmother showed me to give everything you've got, and she was a big part of my life," she said. "We'd see someone that didn't have anything, and she'd make me give them what I had."
With that life lesson in mind, for 20 years Ms Vernon has been travelling to Vietnam and working with the Christina Noble Foundation to help children and families who do not have access to basic needs.
Not satisfied with just helping those living outside of Australia, Ms Vernon has also spent a significant part of her adult life fostering children.
"So, 20 years in Vietnam and 20 years of fostering a lot of children here in Australia that haven't got homes and that need a safe home until they can find a permanent place, or be adopted," Ms Vernon said.
"I decided to start helping overseas after reading books by Christina Noble, and I decided that I needed to see what I could do over there."
While continually looking for ways to help others means Ms Vernon is often stretched to her limits, a straightforward fact helps keep her grounded.
"I'm making a difference," she said.
For some children Ms Vernon fosters, the choices of their parents have seen them saddled with drug addiction.
"The first two years of their life is crucial for a drug-addicted baby, and it is the foundation for the rest of their life," she said.
"I've kept the kids for two or three years, and then they go onto adopted families, or they go back to their parents."
Ms Vernon said Vietnam is an incredible country, and the people are always welcoming.
"The children and the families there appreciate everything you give them, whatever it may be," she said. "The trip before the one I just took was two years ago because I do have foster children now that are high needs."
Before flying across the sea, Ms Vernon will often spend some time fundraising and purchasing items for the charity and orphanages.
From toys to essential medication, whatever the people need Ms Vernon will get.
"In Saigon, a social worker comes and talks me through the families that have been waiting for months for medication and to see a doctor and who is in need the most," she said.
"I'll get the family then I'll take them in to see the doctor, pay the doctor, and then the doctor will give them a script for medication.
"We'll go onto the pharmacy, we'll buy the medication at the pharmacy, and then I'll give them a little bit of money to get them through to the next month. I probably try and help 10 to 20 children there."
Ms Vernon recently returned from a trip to Vietnam where she celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Christina Nobel Foundation. She spent two weeks there with her father, a Vietnam veteran.
"Our trip was amazing, and we were able to help so many families," Ms Vernon said.
"There were highs and low, with some beautiful, heartfelt moments and some tragic stories.
One child that Ms Vernon and her family met had lost his mother and was living with his grandmother.
"We got him a new bike, and he was so happy," she said. "Now he will be able to ride to school, and get there safely instead of walking."
Ms Vernon said her social worker contact in Saigon had an unusual case for them when she arrived.
"She met a man who had smuggled his seven children over the Cambodia border into Vietnam, one of whom was terminally ill. Ms Vernon said when the child dies, the family would not be allowed to leave the hospital until the bill is paid.
"The social worker told me his story, and the child is 8, and they have no way of paying," she said.
"I asked what that looked like, and they needed a substantial advance payment and enough payment for food and clothing.
"So we paid that, normally that is not what I do, but I wanted to help so they could focus on spending time with him."
Ms Vernon said she also finally got the woman whose story encouraged her to book the first plane to Vietnam.
"I finally got to meet the incredible woman who inspired me to make the trips," she said. "That is a memory I will treasure."
One of Ms Vernon's foster daughters has travelled with her three times to Vietnam.
"She is used to me being me. We feed the homeless in Penrith on a Sunday night," she said.
"She is amazing. I was handing out the care packages, and she gave one to a little girl and started handing them out too. She follows in my footsteps. She is compassionate and empathetic."
Now living in Penrith, Ms Vernon said the support of her local community enables her to continue the work she does overseas.
"The hospitals and the doctors that I see here for my foster children, they've given me a substantial amount for care packages," she said.
"My boss has paid for things from the chemist, and for other items, the orphanage might need. It is a combined effort so that I can go and pass it on and make the difference in the lives of other children."
Ms Vernon said sometimes people could take for granted what services exist in Australia.
"Even if you have no money or nowhere to live you can go to a doctor or hospital and get whatever you need," she said.
"There are so many services, such as the Salvation Army, who are helping people.
"So, that's why people ask 'why do you go to Vietnam, what about us', I say 'well, they're not as lucky as us'."
Growing up in Wagga, Ms Vernon attended Tolland Primary School and Mount Austin High School.
"My parents still live there," she said. "We were always encouraged to be kind and generous. I had a stable, beautiful upbringing, and that helps me be who I am."
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