"What I have given, is a trifle compared to what I have received in return" - Rebecca Jarrett-Dalton
For me, It started with a phone call, a good friend of mine, local MP Emma Husar "I have an opportunity to discuss with you, we need clever people to sit on a board"
It transpires that a school friend of hers and imminent lawyer Sharon Levy had attended a breakfast where she was introduced to the plight of; and indeed the sheer volume, of women seeking crisis accomodation or at risk of homelessness due to domestic violence. Sharon took immediate action & The Haven - Nepean Women's Shelter was born little more than 14 months later.
Despite my many protests that I didn't have the skills, the contacts, the know how, experience...when faced with the numbers you step up. If not you - then who? And so, here we are.
We sit under the umbrella of Womens Community Shelters and we are shelter number 5 in their network with the powerful and indomitable tutelage and leadership for Annabelle Daniel, If you would like a woman to inspire - jump on LinkedIn and follow her. We are predominately community funded so that is the members of the board running fund raising events and ever grateful to ongoing donors like our local clubs through the club grants projects, and some of our banks (we keep it bi-partisan, and all disclosed!) as well as many many many local small businesses and residents who keep us running.
We have volunteers who donate our weekly groceries, cooked meals, stationary and sanitary items, toiletries, services like dental work and hairdressing.... the community support is endless and heartening.
Annabelle's favourite phrase is that in all things you can offer your "time, talent or treasure", so charity is not just for the wealthy (although the wealthy are always welcome!) And like the above you may find a charity that connects to your heart - that you can offer some of your time, talent or treasure and I encourage you to do so.
Some of my finest days have been spent making up sheets on 13 bunk beds in company of these beautiful women. Likewise, working bee days with all of our families and kids cleaning and assembling furniture means our kids are now more aware citizens irrevocably changed for the better and proud of their determined voices.
And, as someone who has spent their entire career (and indeed is deeply passionate about) entrenched in small business I have learnt from my seat on the board some more strategic corporate concepts that I have been able to apply to my own business.
So when I say I have received.far more than I have given this is indeed an understatement. I encourage you to start small, start where you are - start with a lonely neighbour if thats easy for you, but consider a role in a charity. Here are a few you can consider: