Welcome to Week 29 of The 52 Week Love Project – Acts of Kindness. The project designed to recognize 52 inspiring humans who are giving back to our community – whether in a small way or by creating a movement for change and inspiration.
The project showcase’s LOVE at it’s finest, share their stories – what they do and why they do it! It’s an opportunity for us to find out what inspires them and what keeps them going when challenges or self-doubt assail them.
Meet Patricia the Creator of ‘Friends for Good’
Their Misson and Vision:
People are free from loneliness.
Friends for Good raises awareness of loneliness as a significant issue in the community and addresses gaps in services to foster a greater sense of connection and well-being for individuals and communities.
Where did it all Begin?
It began when I was working with seniors in Melbourne. They were telling me that they would like a friendly visitor. What they weren’t saying, but what they meant, was that they were lonely. The tears in their eyes were real and they were so sad. Why were people feeling like this when there was so much around to help them already? It motivated me to start the charity Friends for Good along with Co-founder Laura Rouhan. We started with 4 people. The Hustler – me, to make the ask, The Hacker, my son to work on comms and 2 Hipsters, Laura and my daughter, to get the message out in new and different ways. It was just under 2 years from the kitchen table to our first office.
What Do You Do?
We work to free people from loneliness. We started FriendLine. Anyone can call and chat with a friendly volunteer. People call us who are lonely or because they don’t want to be. Our first community lunch will be held this Christmas for disadvantaged people in St. Albans. If you are recently released from jail or escaping violence we figure you definitely need to make a friend and having lunch together is one way of doing it. Letter writing will be next to connect seniors who live remotely to international students. One group can learn about life in the old days and the other can learn about life in the big smoke for people from different cultures. It was a BIG day for us when we held the first ever conference in Australia about loneliness last month. We also have an anonymous on-line survey about loneliness: www.timewetalked.org.au and a blog – we want to break down the stigma about this and provide a safe space for people to have the conversation about it.
What Inspired You?
I was inspired by Father John Brosnan, a Jesuit priest who was the prison chaplain at Pentridge Prison, which is now closed. I listened to him say that if we come from a good family (and although I’m not sure about the definition of this) you are obliged to do something to make a difference, even if it’s only a drop in the ocean.
How Do You Get Past Self Doubt?
I catch the tram and go for a walk at the beach. Chances are I will see people on the tram that are doing things much tougher than I am. Friends for Good has presented so many challenges that often lead to self-doubt, but I try to remind myself of how far we have come and that if we make a REAL difference for one person we have achieved something.
What Advice Do You have For Others Who Want To Make a Difference / Change in the World?
I feel unqualified to answer this one. Suggestion from me would be just do something, take your time and it to the very best of your ability. That way you can be sure when the nay-sayers question you that you have given it everything you’ve got.
Do You Have a Quote or Expression That You Live By?
Back people, including yourself. If I know someone that I can recommend or ask to do a task and they have come through in the past, then I go with that and don’t doubt that it will work out.
What Else Do You do?
I work in the community sector for an organisation helping disadvantaged people to volunteer.
I am a mum and a grandmother to 2 amazing little boys, who, if you couldn’t tell are the apple of my eye.
Also just finished a Post-Graduate Diploma in Human Rights.
How Can Others Help / Get Involved?
We need new people to join our Board of Management, people who enjoy public speaking to promote Friend Line and businesses who would like to partner with us. People can contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We also need donations to pay for lunches, the rent and yes, the phone bill:
Visit our Website: https://www.friendsforgood.org.au
Connect on: Facebook