Wednesday, June 06, 2012

give a little: open family

I've been thinking for a while now that I want to give space here to humanitarian and social justice work and campaigns. It is a digression from real food and motherhood but I believe so much in remembering daily that life can be really tough for a lot of people and most of us have it so good, giving back in some way is important. And so this post is the beginning.

I hope these posts bring perspective if you've lost it, and inspiration to give a little or a lot in some way. Giving doesn't necessarily mean money it can mean making a phone call to check in on a friend or relative, donating clothes, blankets or furniture to your local op shop, or if the cause really does strike a chord with you you might be motivated to create a fundraiser or give up your coffee budget this week and donate it.

Driving home from Melbourne yesterday I listened to a radio interview with a youth outreach worker from an organisation that operates in Victoria and New South Wales called Open Family Australia. A conservative statistic on the Open Family website tells us 'more than 32,000 young Australians will sleep on the street tonight and young people aged between 12-28 are the largest group experiencing homelessness'. The overnight temperatures in Melbourne at the moment are hovering around six degrees. The outreach worker being interviewed explained that many homeless people try to find a place to sleep during the day as they are more vulnerable sleeping at night so it is better to stay awake. An emerging trend the agency is seeing is young homeless people with children.

Since 1978 Open Family have been working with homeless and at-risk young people providing the skills and support they need to break the cycle of poverty and build better lives for themselves.

You can read 'A day in the life of an Outreach Worker' for a detailed insight into the work Open Family workers undertake and the support they extend to at-risk young people.

Open Family is funded to support young homeless and at-risk people through corporates, donations, trusts and grants, government support and events such as their Longest Night Appeal. The 21st of June is the longest and darkest night of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, not one that anyone would volunteer to spend sleeping on the street.

If you'd like to read more about the Longest Night Appeal go here.

Is there a cause or campaign you'd like me to write about? Leave a comment or send me an email -

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