A message from the Chair and Director
On 8 May we celebrated World Red Cross Day and the birthday of Red Cross founder Henry Dunant. This year’s celebrations were held at the Perth offices of VisAbility, a disability services and support organisation we work with.
The morning was a kaleidoscope of Red Cross activity. We were honoured to have our President, Michael Legge, AM, fly in for the event. He gave a warm and welcoming address to about 130 people, thanking them for their commitment and the work they do. This is Michael’s last year as President so it was also our opportunity to say farewell.
The morning included moving stories from people supported though our Lady Lawley Cottage. One of the cottage’s clients attended and a young carer shared her story – both were beacons of positivity in very demanding situations.
Representatives of Guide Dogs WA were invited to the event and brought along Maddy, one of their ambassador dogs, who stole three trauma teddies from around the room, bringing much pleasure and hilarity to the morning.
Our congratulations to all those who received awards at the event, especially our former Director, Steve Joske, who received an honorary life membership.
The Bindaring Unit delighted the audience with a fashion show to publicise their annual clothing sale. There were also presentations about our Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) that operates in Derby, National Volunteer Week and trauma teddies.
As well, a member of our Geraldton Sun City Unit gave a persuasive argument about why we should hold next year’s World Red Cross Day event in their city. And so I invite you to come to Geraldton in 2018 to celebrate World Red Cross Day and be part of what will be a wonderful event.
WA Divisional Advisory Board Chair
A Pearl of a volunteer
Eileen Nokes, a volunteer at our Witchcliffe op shop, has clocked up 30 years of service to Red Cross.
“Eileen has made an incredible contribution to the store as well as to the local community,” says Red Cross Retail Area Manager Barbara McMullan. “The success of the store is a testament to Eileen and the rest of the volunteer team who keep things ticking over – from donation sorting through to window dressing and serving customers.”
Barbara says she’s overwhelmed by the dedication of her volunteer team and particularly Eileen who has generously donated her time and efforts for three decades.
To mark this milestone, our Head of Retail, Richard Wood, presented Eileen with a Western Australian Volunteer Service Award and a Red Cross Medal in a ceremony held at the Red Gate Road store in April.
The Witchcliffe Red Cross shop always welcomes new volunteers. To find out more, call into the shop or go online at www.redcross.org.au/shopvolunteer.
The power of principled prose
As part of a new project called Humans of Red Cross, 12 of our volunteers took part in a workshop to learn the art of storytelling.
“Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways for Red Cross to articulate the myriad of things we do and how we create change,” says Red Cross’ Maija Ala-Kauhaluoma, who is leading the project. “Stories about the work of volunteers and members highlight our shared humanity and demonstrate how our fundamental principles work in practice.”
At a storytelling evening held during National Volunteer Week in May, four of the participants shared stories illustrating how volunteering had changed their lives.
The chair of our Western Australia Divisional Advisory Board, Dianne Buckles, told the audience everyone had a story to tell. “It is very important to recognise the value in recording it, whether it is by writing it down or by speaking to a camera,” she said.
The Humans of Red Cross project fits with Red Cross’ strategic plans focused on changing what humanitarian means to the public and on creating a society where everyone can be a humanitarian volunteer. As part of the project, we will be training people to become storytellers and story collectors.
If you would like to get involved in the project, please contact Maija at email@example.com.
Art project supports youth
Red Cross teamed up with charity Whitelion to support at-risk youth to create a series of artworks, which went on display during World Red Cross Day celebrations in May.
Whitelion works with at-risk youth, supporting those in custody, who have complex needs or who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Using social enterprise models and funded programs, Whitelion inspires young people to create art.
Red Cross volunteers and young people from Whitelion took part in the project and created three abstract paintings representing the empowerment and support individuals get from our Private Tenancy, Youth and Family programs.
An event held to celebrate the growing collaboration between Red Cross and Whitelion was attended by Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan.
The three paintings, made using spray paint, will be available for viewing in the Private Tenancy, Youth and Family space in Perth.
Name Sarah Drevet
What are your hobbies and interests?
World events, camping, horse riding, dancing.
Which programs do you volunteer with?
The Migration Support Program Hub, Women’s Morning Tea Program, In Search of Safety and Emergency Relief.
What motivated you?
Giving back to the community is the least I can do. Giving back is in my nature. Volunteering has also helped me with my self-development. It has opened my eyes and has allowed me to continuously grow in compassion and awareness. I have gained more knowledge and understanding over the past few years and, through this, I have become more comfortable with sharing my own beliefs about specific social issues.
What has been the highlight?
The highlight has been meeting inspiring clients who have gone through so much in the course of their lives. Their stories are incredible, which has allowed me to understand the struggles of migrating to Australia a bit better.
What is one thing people should know about your program?
People often forget that regardless of our status in Australia, we are all the same. We have all walked different paths of life and come from different backgrounds. Therefore, our program is designed to provide the best quality services to our clients so that they can receive the support they need to integrate into Australia as much as possible. Our aim is to make Australia a more friendly place, where migrants who have come to Australia for a better life can feel safe and have basic rights.
For volunteering opportunities with our Migration Support Program, contact Jonathan Richards at firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact your local Red Cross office for more information