An update from Roger O’Halloran, Executive Director
Palms Together Day was a wonderful celebration of diversity at Pentecost. Despite bringing together native speakers of many languages, we didn’t speak in tongues. But we did bring our palms together to celebrate and reflect on the beauty of diversity that lay before us, both in the faces of those present, and the wonderful array of food they had brought to share.
A culture close to the heart of the giver inspired each dish and each life story shared. Staff and volunteers from the Palms Australia office were buzzing with the tales of the wonderful people they had met. There were returned volunteers – including one sent to PNG in the first group in 1962 – a couple of board members, others not seen for a while, and several who only recently connected to our community added to the diversity.
So, a collection of 6 to 86 year olds spent a beautiful sunny autumn day informally learning from, and inspiring one another. Mutuality abounded, epitomising so much of what Palms Australia is about. The simplicity of a ‘pot luck’ home gathering added another element of connection, and we connected to a community beyond, offering support for one of our volunteer placements overseas. The group contributed over $400 for the Early Childhood Education program in Bedois, Timor-Leste.
Over the next 12 months, Palms Australia will develop this wonderful model. The focus on connecting through a volunteer to an overseas community provides a great opportunity to re-connect communities at home. We’re aiming for 50 Palms Together Days over the coming year. Just ask for any assistance you need to get Palms Together in your community.
The End of Financial Year also prompts us to seek support for projects wanting to engage volunteer support. I’m not sure if there is any advantage to you in making a tax deductible donation, but there certainly will be an advantage for the youth of Timor-Leste where over 50% of the population is school age. We’re seeking support to continue the placements of three volunteer teachers at three levels of education.
Christine Davids and Rhoe Price are teaching in Bedois, but more importantly they’re mentoring teachers so that generations of children to come have greater opportunity for a complete education. Lyndall Judd is providing teacher support in Maliana. Your help will ensure that their placements continue into the important second year.
Connect in Sydney on July 14th
Its NAIDOC week and we’ll be commissioning volunteers from our just completed mid-year orientation with Indigenous song and dance. There’ll be a chance to learn the dance prior to the commissioning. We will also celebrate this year’s Solidarity Award winners. A very special afternoon tea of Indigenous food is also included. You can grab tickets for you and your friends here.
Finally, this week we are saying goodbye to our Marketing and Communications Strategist, Rachel. You will probably have noticed the lift in our communications in the last year. Thanks Rachel, you have set us on a great path. Good luck in your new role. I hope you keep your Palms connected and take something of Palms Australia’s culture of connection with you.