ThankYou Thursday: Washing under Orange Skies

Did you know that every night in Brisbane around 300 people sleep rough in parks, under bridges, in laneways, car parks and abandoned buildings?

While every morning most people, like you and me, wake up and slip on a pair of clean pants and a freshly washed shirt without any thought about it. With a load of washing costing about $6 at a typical laundromat this is an expense that is out of reach for many who are sleeping rough.

The Orange Sky Laundry is Australia’s first mobile laundry for the homeless, washing and drying clothes and belongings for those on the streets. Currently operating in Brisbane the idea was thought up by two young guys, Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, in July last year. They started the project after engineering student, Lucas, returned from overseas and decided, ‘Let’s stop talking about this and just go do it!’

The boys have been receiving some positive media attention for their idea and only a few months into their venture were interviewed for the Sunrise program on Channel Seven.

Run completely by volunteers and especially looking to give people between the ages of 18 and 30 an outlet to help people in need, the Orange Sky Laundry provides free washing and drying facilities for the homeless. They also provide specialised hygiene packs.

The organisation’s name was inspired by the lyrics of the song, Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch: ‘In your love, my salvation lies’ and ‘I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky, with my brother standing by’. The message of the song is about helping your brothers and sisters which are values that are central to the project.

Orange Sky Laundry’s mission is to improve hygiene standards of the Australian homeless while at the same time they can restore a little bit of respect too by helping with their perhaps untidy appearance.

The boys installed two washing machines and two dryers that were donated in an old van that they did up. They drive around to parks and other locations that homeless people frequent in Brisbane. Partnering up with food vans so that people can eat while their clothes are washing at the same time makes this an efficient task for the users.

Lucas says his favourite part of the job is being able to sit and ‘chat with the interesting people’ while the washing machines are churning away.

Orange Sky Laundry is planning to be nationwide by the end of this year and just looking at the posts on their Facebook page you can see that the Australian community are really getting behind this idea. People are continually asking how they can help them out by volunteering in different cities, setting up regular direct deposits and pledging donations. Even people from the US are getting on board by donating via Paypal.

This Thursday we would like to give a big high five and say thank you to Lucas Patchett, Nicholas Marchesi and all the volunteers involved in Orange Sky Laundry. We hope you guys grow across the country and keep up the good washing.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: The Keys of Change

What if you could do something that helped create employment for someone that desperately needed it, whilst also giving a gift of inspiration and positivity to both yourself and others? Perhaps it’s time you took a look at The Giving Keys?

A social enterprise born out of the simple idea of providing people with confidence and belief when they needed it most, The Giving Keys was established in Los Angeles. Inspirational words are engraved on old, recycled keys and used as pendants on necklaces, made into bracelets and rings.

The work is undertaken by disadvantaged people who are transitioning out of homelessness. People for whom often this job was their only chance at making a better life for themselves. Over the past few years, as the business started to grow, The Giving Keys partnered with local community organisations including United Way, PATH and Chrysalis, to help find more employees, ensuring that those employed were truly in need and looking for a way to recreate their lives.

As if that doesn’t create enough of a feel-good product, The Giving Keys encourage all wearers of their keys to pay it forward and once they meet someone who needs that message more than them, they pass the pendant on. Here is a short video about the concept:

The brains behind The Giving Keys is Caitlin Crosby, a young woman who grew up in a world of narcissism, glamour and craziness; she grew up in Hollywood. The daughter of an entertainment manager and a model, she rebelled against the world of vanity and started producing items and writing songs and music with the motto ‘Love your flaws’.

One day she had had an idea and got that motto engraved on an old hotel key she had, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Caitlin was destined for big things and it’s such a delight that a lot of the ripples she is making are about empowering others. She is someone who genuinely wants to make a difference in the world, having recently said in a TED talk, “I think it is our responsibility as humans to take care of each other.

The concept of The Giving Keys, and Caitlin herself, are a shining example of Mother Teresa’s quote about helping others ourselves.

This Thank You Thursday, we acknowledge the creativity and kindness of Caitlin Crosby for coming up with The Giving Keys initiative; giving not only confidence and love to key-wearers, but the opportunity for change to key-makers.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Thank You Thursday: Get Moving Australia

A recent survey revealed that more than half of all Australians do no formal exercise, and despite this alarmingly high number of sedentary lifestyles, more than 63 percent of the population expressed a desire to lose weight. Go figure. Clearly, as a nation our actions aren’t living up to our actions.

Well, whilst this isn’t driven by a charity, one Aussie company is trying to change that by encouraging a change in people’s attitudes to exercise and fitness. It’s clothing brand, Lorna Jane, who have created Active Nation Day.

Taking place this Sunday, September 30th, Active Nation Day is part of the Move Nourish Believe campaign and encourages all Australians to get moving and engage in physical activity. For more than twenty years the brand has inspired women to not only look great when exercising, but to actually get active, and now it’s hoping to get the entire nation moving.

After doing some research with Roy Morgan in late 2011, Lorna Jane realised that we are one inactive country and wanted to play a part in making a shift. Founder, Lorna Jane Clarkson says of the initiative:

“It’s time for the women of Australia to invest in their health and wellbeing and take the first step towards living an active life. Lorna Jane is taking the next crucial step to bring about a fitting change and inspire the nation to get moving.”

They developed the following promotional video to discuss the issue.

As part of the campaign, you can download the free Lorna Jane iPhone app and track your runs, walks or cycles via GPS, motivating you to move for the movement. Once you have completed the workout, you can upload it to the Now Move It website and track it along with your friends’ and the rest of the nation’s activities.

To get involved in some of the free activities happening around the country – check it out here.

While The Fish Chick has been writing Thank You Thursday blogs for some time now, it is the first time I can incorporate one of my personal passions into a post. I’m thrilled to acknowledge Lorna Jane Clarkson, the Lorna Jane brand and the Move Nourish Believe movement for their efforts to not only inspire a nation of women to be fit, but now also tackling Australia’s issues of inactive lifestyles and obesity head on. A brilliant effort.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

P.S Just quietly, I might add, I’ve been a huge LJ fan for a long time and one of the best things about running my own business is being able to make my LJ wear my unofficial uniform. So an extra little thanks from me too. Lol. ❤

Thank You Thursday: A Taste of Poverty

When was the last time you spent two dollars? Not five dollars but just two. What did you buy? I bet it wasn’t much. You can’t even get a coffee for $2 nowadays, can you?

The average Australian lives on about $94 per day. To be living in extreme poverty in Australia, as defined by the World Bank, you would be living on just $2 per day. That’s $2 every day for food, shelter, health care, education, transport and anything else you might need. Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?

What about just living on $2 worth of food a day, forgetting about the cost of your home, clothing and so on. Could you do that?

Thank You Thursday: Money for Nothing

Last week I came across an initiative that wasn’t only about raising funds for a good cause and creating a better world, but doing something for yourself and creating a better you. And I believe the ‘better you’ that is created will in turn be a healthier and happier member of the community. It is Mindful in May and it is a project developed by Dr Elise Bialylew.

Mindful in May is a one month meditation campaign for both beginner and more experienced meditators that benefits you and raises money to bring clean drinking water to people living in developing countries.

Create a clear mind for you and clean water for others.

Developed as a way of creating support for those who felt time poor but wanted to create a habit of mindfulness in their lives, Mindful in May asks participants to make a donation of at least $20 to go toward bringing clean water to 2 two villages sustaining more than 500 people.

Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non judgmentally. Throughout the month participants will be supported in learning new skills to enhance their internal resources, whilst simultaneously contributing to bringing external resources to those living in poverty. They will have access to weekly audio meditation downloads, instruction and daily motivation.

I know I’ve talked about the issue of clean water around the world on this blog before, but just to recap; every 20 seconds a child dies from a disease caused by lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Mindful in May is an initiative raising funds for Charity: Water and hoping to do something about such statistics.

Basically, the project enables you to do good by doing nothing. 10 minutes of nothing every day for 31 days. I’m getting in on this one. A bit of mindfulness is what this Fish Chick needs right now, and clean water is obviously a necessity for everyone, fish and human alike.

So this Thank You Thursday we acknowledge the work of Dr Elise Bialylew and her efforts to make a difference in the world with Mindful in May.

See you in the (fresh) pond,

The Fish Chick

Thank You Thursday: It Started with a Pig

Many animals in human care in this country are excluded from the protection of Australia’s animal welfare legislation. That is, about 500 million ‘food animals’ (as they are called) endure lives of misery in factory farms as they are without socialisation, sunshine and freedom.

When a lady named Pam Ahern learned of these facts she decided to do something about it and create a place that could be a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.

Edgar Alan Pig – a large white and landrace cross pig – was the first animal Pam rescued from a piggery and she named her sanctuary after him.

Edgar’s Mission aims to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome wherever possible. They seek to create a humane and just world for humans and animals through education, advocacy and empowerment.

The sanctuary is home to over 250 animals so a big part of what Edgar’s Mission does is help care for them. The other part of their work is to run education programs for students and community groups. While being conscious of not telling people what to do, the mission provides information and hopes to inspire people to be have more empathy for animals, respect for the environment and an understanding of the impact they are making on the world around them.

Check out the video below for more information about Edgar’s Mission.

If you’re in Melbourne, Edgar’s Mission have a few open days each year, and being only an hour from Melbourne it’s a a lovely day out. And, in particular, this Sunday (April 15) they have their Kids Day Out.

The Fish Chick thanks Pam and the team at Edgar’s Mission this Thank You Thursday.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick