By Lukas and Kristina.
Notice the great thirst and hunger amongst many Australians to build stronger communities of empathy and cross cultural solidarity?
As Palms Volunteers we were in East Timor from 2010-2011, supporting the Ahisaun Disability Foundation in empowering young people with a disability. This changed our lives forever and opened up our appreciation of just how much we all have in common – irrespective of background, culture or religion. We need one another to enjoy fulfilling, meaningful lives.
We believe that Palm’s mission offers immense potential to unite, inspire and animate people in our workplaces, parishes and neighbourhoods. This inspired us to host a Palms event for our parishioners at St Finbar’s, Glenbrook. Thirty five people came to hear our story and gain insight into the Palms volunteering experience. But it didn’t end there!
Shifting gears….we invited participants to talk about how we can build community and cross culture solidarity amongst our diverse parish. The feedback was positively amazing! 100% of attendees agreed building community connections is important and are interested in being involved in making this mission a reality, to achieve cross cultural solidarity.
Here are our findings from the event.
- 90% were ‘very interested’ in encountering and listening to the stories from their own parishioners who are from a culturally diverse background
- 80% were ‘very interested’ in a Parish Outreach Mini Expo – where parish ‘outreach’ groups showcase their activities and open invitation to all parishioners to get involved
- 60% were very interested in multicultural social dinners – where people bring a dish and share a short story about that meal’s significance to their family and culture
We found it fascinating that many participants do have the desire to volunteer overseas but they face questions and fears – just like we did! By sharing our journey, process of discernment and the practicalities of preparing to go, they became open minded to the potential of volunteering overseas and, in the meantime, have an increased desire to be active within local community.
We consciously tried to bring to life Palms’ mission and approach by drawing upon our East Timor experience and showing interesting photos and videos to support the stories we shared. We found this quite powerful as it brought to life Palms’ mission and approach in a tangible way that people could relate to.
Do you believe in Palm’s mission? We encourage you to reach out to your own local community! People are thankful to be enriched and inspired by your own story, experience and journey.
Were we a bit nervous about how it would go? Yes! Are we glad we did it? Very! If you’re feeling a bit nervous too, that’s OK. Your Palms family is behind you and we are happy to offer you support. Contact Palms!
Together we can build the caring connected communities we long to see and be a part of.