There were so many amazing people who volunteered to make the Christmas Fiesta happen for not just one, but for both weekends. From the organisers to the clean-up crew, each event was held together by the hands of the community for their communities.
Angel Chu volunteered in this year’s Christmas Fiesta Event in both Willawong and St Lucia. Here’s her experience:
- What was volunteering for the Christmas Fiesta like?
Being a Kid’s Activities volunteer, I got to help with running the games and helping the kids, family and friends to enjoy themselves. I also got to enjoy the extraordinary carolling performance after the booths closed.
- What was the difference between the two events?
With the much bigger outdoor area in Willawong, it was a relatively spacious and quiet carnival for many families to enjoy a relaxing family fun time. The Auditorium was also very well equipped, providing an excellent performance experience. At UQ, it was much more crowded with the limited space, with all the kids mainly around the same area. However, it excited the atmosphere, encouraging more people to go around and keep trying out different games.
- What was the best part of Christmas Fiesta in general?
It has been too long since I’ve been at any big community event. The best part is seeing so many different families, parents, kids or young adults genuinely having fun and enjoying the day, whether it be the games or the performance.
We are so grateful for Volunteers like Angel, who took the time to create an event that gives the community the opportunity to start the Christmas holidays. It is a testament to not having the Christmas Fiesta be a joy for those attending but also for those behind the scenes.
Stay tuned for our 2023 Christmas Fiesta volunteering opportunities here.
How time flies- we’re already in October!
We interviewed Jacyline Khor (Coordinator of Hands of Hope) about the various Hands of Hope activities held so far this year:
Tell us about the highlights of the year, Jacyline.
Jacyline – We’re grateful for the many opportunities to connect to and serve our local community. We’ve forged closer relationships with the many families in need who collect food parcels weekly from Hope Pantry.
Our Good Neighbour activities in Pallara have begun to yield fruit, with some local residents now volunteering with Hands of Hope.
The Circle of Security parenting course was a huge success. We have run it twice to date, with a total of 21 parents participating. Our special thanks to Relationships Australia for running the course in Unidus.
We’re proud of the 8 youths from the T2S (Transition to success) program who graduated in July. It was heartening to hear of their aspirations to make a difference in society. These at-risk youths received support and encouragement from this program to make important changes and decisions, enabling them to turn their lives around.
So what’s in store for Hands of Hope in the rest of 2022?
Jacyline – There will be heaps of exciting events, campaigns and opportunities to volunteer.
The “Love Give Serve” campaign will kick off in October. I won’t give away too much – look out for more announcements coming soon!
Some exciting news – This year, we will have C4K (Christmas for kids) with a twist – it will be Christmas Fiesta in Willawong and St Lucia. Watch this space!
by Maureen Yeow
In Australia, Father’s Day is observed on the first Sunday of September. It is a day to honour fathers, with appreciation expressed through gifts, words and time spent together as a family.
Dads. Our silent saviours. Often unseen in the background of birthday parties, blowing up balloons, getting extra ice, putting up Christmas decorations, climbing up ladders to change lightbulbs. Who knows how many of their own fears they’ve overcome while doing something for the family? What goes on in a Dad’s mind is usually not foregrounded as much as what a Dad does. So, this Father’s day, how can we better support our Dads?
Some things we can do as a community to honour and appreciate the Dads in our midst:
1. Promote local community groups and events that support fathers:
- Dad’s Groups https://www.dadsgroup.org/dadsgroupabout
- The Man With A Pram is a fundraiser for perinatal mental health programs and research. Parents, kids, grandparents and friends and perinatal health representatives join for a social walk to celebrate and support fathers and father figures.
- Fathers of Girls https://fathersofgirls.org/about-us; This non-profit has annual fundraisers raising money for local organisations which support girls. One of their events is the “Give for a Goal”; charity netball day (Downey Park, partnering with Netball Queensland): Fathers and daughters shoot goals, receive tips from professional netball players and raise money for charity through sponsorship.
2. Survey the fathers – which speakers and workshops would appeal to them? Organise for such a workshop/workshops to run so that fathers can be empowered and equipped.
- mr.dad: A once-off, free antenatal and early parenthood class for expectant fathers. Many participants report having the same fears and anxieties about preparing for the labour, birth and early parenting. It aims to provide information that is both male-friendly and male-orientated.
- DadStuff, a free 2-workshop program for dads, father-figures and families. It tackles being a dad, relationship with your partner and connecting with your children. https://supportforfathers.com.au/dadstuff/
- Programs for parents include The Triple P Positive Parenting Program and The Circle of Security parenting program.
3. Acknowledge the importance of fatherhood: in our conversations, our social media posts, our community centres, our churches, et cetera.
4. Host an event to celebrate the fathers amongst us: family games days, sausage sizzles, et cetera.
Father’s Day is one day to appreciate Dads. Let us also consider investing in fatherhood in ways that empower Dads for the long term.
R U OK? is a charity that promotes suicide prevention by encouraging us to create deeper relationships with our classmates, workmates, friends and families by asking a very simple question.
Mental health issues may be easy to sweep under the rug as an outsider, but there are real and lasting impacts that can affect our overall health. It is very normal for sadness or loneliness to creep within and grow without us realising, so it is important to consider opening up when you feel this way or reaching out when you notice anything different. Simply asking if someone is okay can move the largest of mountains.
Here are some things to think about during R U OK? Week and to approach a friend that you think may need some support:
- Remove the stigma
- Depression and anxiety can happen to anyone, for a multitude of reasons or for no reason at all. This is normal, so seeking for help is also normal. Remove any preconceptions, assumptions or judgements to become a part of what could be a solution.
- Open the conversation
- Asking if a friend is okay, taking them out for a coffee, or even taking a workout class together can make all the difference. Remember to actively listen.
- Suggest seeing a health professional
- When your friend is ready, you can be there for them when looking for more help. There are so many limitations on how you can help when dealing with the complexity of mental health. Health professionals are clinically trained to support us in ways we won’t be able to.
- Go to your General Practitioner, request a referral to see a counsellor or a specialist that would be suitable for you.
- Speak with your school’s chaplain, your church’s counsellor or seek work’s mental health resources.
- Check on yourself
- All of the above applies to you. If you find yourself struggling mentally and emotionally struggling, reach out to a friend or a health professional. If you’re not ready to do any of these, that’s okay too. Just remember that what you’re feeling is normal and there are so many resources and people that can be there to get you through it. If you are feeling distressed or suicidal, you can call Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14 at any time of the day.
Celebrating First Nations Australians this week and every week!
Happy NAIDOC Week, Brisbane/Meeanjin! We at Hands of Hope acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land, and pay respects their Elders past and present. We extend our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC is an annual celebration that stands for the National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It’s the perfect time to recognise and honour the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
Non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have the great privilege to learn about First Nation cultures and histories, participate in these celebrations, and support our communities.
Here are a few ways we can support our community:
- Attend a NAIDOC event – there are a number of events throughout Australia as listed on the website
- The 2022 NAIDOC Virtual Event is free to join and will showcase a variety of films about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stories, culture and historic events:
2. Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses
- Chocolate on Purpose is 100% Indigenous-owned and sells a variety of delicious choccies to give as incredibly thoughtful presents (or to consume yourself, of course):
3. Educate yourself – Listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices by reading books by Indigenous Australian’s authors
- Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia by Anita Heiss is a beautiful anthology that showcases diverse stories and experiences from Aboriginal poets, writers, students about their identity. It’s an exceptional read and I highly recommend listening to the Audiobook or grabbing a copy:
- The Healing Foundation is an organisation that amplifies the voices of Stolen Generations survivors and their families
There are so many ways to celebrate NAIDOC all week this week and every week!
by Beatriz Polotan