This week marks my five year anniversary with the Sir David Martin Foundation and it will also be my last as I move on to another challenge and hand over the reins to a new General Manager.
As the librarian at Royal Australian Naval College, HMAS Creswell, I work in an environment where I have the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing young people embark on a career in the defence force. In most cases they've been supported by a network of family members and friends who have guided, mentored and advised throughout this lengthy process.
Boxing is more than just a hobby, sport or exercise to get fit. For me, boxing has become a way of life, which I discovered when I was a teenager. I grew up in a tough neighbourhood in the UK and boxing became both a passion and discipline for me, which kept me fit, focused, and out of trouble.
I was posed a question recently about why Triple Care Farm relies on Philanthropy – as opposed to Government funding, or charging fees. The answer is a complex one, but central to it is the power, consistency and flexibility that philanthropy offers.
I recently house-sat for a family and had the joy of looking after their furry friends during my stay. Word spread quickly and, before long, I found myself house sitting for a few more families around Sydney in the following months. It was quite fun!
A thought that often plagues my mind is...I wonder how much of "me" has been shaped by the life I was born into. Would I be the same if I had grown up in poverty? What if I had an abusive parent or experienced some sort of trauma at a young age? What does it feel like to truly have no hope? How would my needs be different?
Earlier this year I attended a conference on the ‘Ice Epidemic’. It was fascinating to hear from academics, researchers, social workers and health practitioners, all who offered different perspectives on this topic, which has been so visible in the press and in our community over the last 2 years.
What a privilege it was to attend Mission Australia’s recent Creative Youth Initiative (CYI) ARTWORKS! exhibition at the end of last year. On my way home at the end of the night I was overwhelmed with feelings of encouragement. I was uplifted to meet some of the students, and chat to them about their work. Their achievements led me to walk away with a heap of hope and optimism.
Every day is the same. Some might be hot or cold or wet or windy, but each day for a homeless person feels the same. The boredom might be offset by concern or worry about losing your possessions or when someone wants to fight you or when your dog gets sick. Young people and old, they all face the same issues and they live from day to day and hand to mouth. This much I have discovered while spending some time travelling around with the Missionbeat van, as a volunteer.
Two things this week revealed to me how powerful respect can be – its absence and its presence.
Firstly, a few words on disrespect.
State of Origins are by far my favourite games of footy (league). Last night’s Blues victory was hard fought and deserved and I can’t wait for the third game up in Queensland.
I’m not going to mince words here — this is a desperate time. Our society is under attack by the scourge of ‘ice’. Every day young lives are being ruined by this evil drug.
This month, we have launched a special appeal to help make the solution to this epidemic, a reality. Please hear me out.
As you know, each year, Triple Care Farm (which we fund and is operated by Mission Australia) offers 100 young people, who arrive at rock bottom facing life on the streets, jail or an early grave; a last chance to turn their lives around.
It's back to work now after a wonderful Christmas break! Maddy in our team challenged me to write a blog entry but in the flux between ‘holiday mode’ and ‘work mode’ instead of focusing on one thought, there are lots of ideas buzzing around my head.
I am always struck with how much more powerful and rich a story is when shown in a video than being told in prose, or even worse presented in statistics. (I fully recognise the irony of writing this rather than filming it…*). Anyway. This week I was again blown away by the power of film.
I admit it – I did the Ice Bucket Challenge last month. For anyone who doesn’t know, this involves being nominated by a friend to pour a bucket of ice water over yourself and/or donating to charity, before nominating others to do the same.
In July each year we get the annual Triple Care Farm outcomes report. This is a significant piece of research, and the culmination of marrying your generosity to the professionalism of the Farm staff and the bravery of the Students.
What is success?
I had a long conversation recently with the Triple Care Farm Manager, Gab Holmes, about the Farm’s 2013 results. I was worried that there was a low ‘graduation rate’ included in the 2013 and wanted to know whether this reflected an issue with the program and student’s progress from it, or something else.
What followed was a detailed discussion about what constitutes ‘success’ for the young people coming to the Farm.
I was asked a great question at a BBQ last weekend.
Working in the Community Sector I am often asked by friends "why should I donate money to yours of any other charity? I pay my taxes, why doesn’t the Government fund this sort of thing?”
It’s a fair question.
This week I was contacted this week by a Graduate of Triple Care Farm. The lady got in touch via email, and her email signature showed she was working in a successful and interesting career. I guess the Farm, and other interventions, helped get her life back on track.