From working with the young and old via education and mentoring, through various community initiatives, Dr Ray King has a phenomenal track record in helping others. His life history so far reads like one of the manuals he has authored, with each chapter providing a rich example of how one person can contribute to their community.
Ray gained a BA, MA, and qualifications in Teaching and Social Work in New Zealand, before becoming a Senior Lecturer at Otago University. Study for a PhD in Cambridge was followed by 22-years at Sydney University where as Associate Professor of Education he gained a law qualification and was the first Director of the Aboriginal Education Centre. Following his retirement in 1989 he took up a position as Professor of Education in the newly established Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga where he worked for a further five years and in an honorary capacity for another two years.
He has been Secretary and President and a member of numerous committees in the Rotary Club of Wagga Wagga Kooringal. Following training in America he was appointed District Governor during 2000-2001 and was a Rotary volunteer in India in 2002. Rotary has enabled him to be involved in community projects such as the rejuvenation of Steve O’Halloran Park in Kooringal, which was plagued by vandals until Ray and fellow members engaged local residents in the project.
Ray is involved with establishing OM:NI groups (Older Men: New Ideas) in Wagga Wagga, Melbourne and throughout the Riverina. OM:NI Older Men; New Ideas is a program of the Council on the Ageing (COTA), NSW. The first rural OM:NI group was formed in 2002 and now there are nine groups in the Riverina. Ray says that "OM:NI groups serve as a forum for older men to develop a greater sense of wellbeing through sharing, socializing, supporting each other and building self-confidence". Ray is a member of the NSW Management Committee of OM:NI and a member of the NSW Policy Council on the Ageing.
Ray is a registered psychologist and a Fellow of the Australian College of Education. This background with his social work experience and a TAFE course on mentoring has helped Ray as a volunteer in the 'Plan-it Youth' mentor program at Kooringal High School. Ray says, "It is a unique project because for most students, it is probably the only time in their lives that they will have a person devoted time solely to helping them with their plans for their future."
Ray has been pivotal in the development of suicide prevention programs, particularly with youth and Aboriginal people. The articles and manuals he has written continue to provide a template for such programs today. His work in suicide prevention earned him the 'Service Above Self' Rotary International Award.
As Chairman of the Schizophrenia Fellowship (Wagga branch) and a member of the Rehabilitation Development Group of the Greater Murray Area Health Service, Ray is working to establish a clubhouse for people living with mental illness. Members of the Clubhouse participate fully in running the club, where they develop communication, work and life skills that in many cases lead to future employment.
He is on the Board of the Community College, a life member of the Friends of the City Art Gallery and past chairman of the Riverina Conservatorium of Music. Ray's leadership at the Conservatorium was recognised by the establishment of the 'Dr Ray King Scholarship' awarded to a local musician of exceptional talent. Other highlights for Ray have been the honour of carrying the torch for the 2000 Olympics in Wagga Wagga and being declared "Volunteer of the Month" for October, 2004.