Thank You Thursday: A new narrative for men

Many of us have heard of ‘the man cave’, a place where men hideout from family pressures – a place where they can really try to be themselves, a place to tinker with their bikes, cars and/or hobbies. But did you know there is a real man cave helping young men with their emotions and mental health?

As World Mental Health Day is acknowledged on 10th October we’re taking this opportunity to highlight this growing organisation, The Man Cave.

Thank You Thursday: Local Librarians

International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies, so this month we’ll make mention of a little organisation doing that across neighbourhoods in Australia called Street Library.

Street Library was founded by Nic Lowe whose vision came about from wanting to have an Australian-based free library movement to encourage literacy and community progress. Based on Little Free Libraries in America, Nic saw what they were doing and thought what a great idea to expand in Australia, and so a group of people got together to make it happen. Nic built and installed the first Street Library outside his home in Newtown.

Street Libraries are wonderful little homes for books that are accessible from the street and an invitation for sharing the joys of reading with people from all walks of life. One can simply reach into these little ‘homes’ and select what interests them. When done, they are returned or can be passed on to a friend knowing the ‘checking in’ or out of the book is not needed.

By participating in the Street Library movement, people – known as street librarians – can help to encourage reading, sharing and that a sense of community. The average little home for these books holds between 20 – 40 readers, plenty of room for your most enjoyed books to fit in.

Officially beginning in Sydney, New South Wales in November 2015 the idea has swiftly expanded. Street Library has three main objectives:
1. Encourage Literacy – “The more you read, the more you will know.”
2. To motivate people and bring neighbourhoods all over Australia closer together. By taking a book and leaving another one in its place, a cycle of generosity is shared.
3. To have registered by December 2021 – 5,000 Street Libraries.

Street Library aims to be self-sufficient by selling libraries to those who do not want to build their own and also host workshops for those who want to learn to build.

Street Libraries are a symbol of trust, hope and a passageway to literary happiness. Their motto is:

“Take a Book, Give a Book, Share a Book.”

So, this Thank You Thursday, we’re thanking Nic and the team behind Street Library, as well as all the ‘street librarians’ out there that host and helped establish a home for books in their local community.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

* Photo courtesy of Sydney Morning Herald: The first street library outside founder, Nic Lowe’s home.

Thank You Thursday: Young Healers

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is celebrated on 4th August. It’s an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every child.

Malpa is a charity that is doing just that. Through their health leadership program called Young Doctors, Malpa is training Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal young people to be health ambassadors for their communities. Designed and run by local Elders, along with respected community members and supported by health workers, this program teaches hygiene, health literacy, nutrition, and wellbeing as well as identity.

The Ngangkari, being the traditional Aboriginal healers in Central Australia, have been passing on their skills to the young for thousands of years. These skills are deeply embedded in Indigenous culture and life and now the idea has been given a new injection of life with the Young Doctors project.

As the young people become health leaders and peers to their younger community members, it is not only creating a stronger group of people but, is opening up career pathways to better health. In each of the areas the local language is used, and over a fun packed but structured program these communities are taught traditional and contemporary ways by respected members and Elders and as a result the Young Doctors are becoming health ambassadors.

The importance of hand hygiene, cleaning noses, washing, keeping the house and community clean as well as bush medicine etc. is learned by the Young Doctors. Malpa CEO, Don Palmer says:

“The whole idea is to equip kids on how to teach their brothers and sisters a healthier lifestyle.”

Some outcomes for the young doctors who have participated in this project include:
• 98% were found to be happy to go to school since becoming Young Doctors
• 100% thought about working in a job after completing school
• 100% reported knowing more about Aboriginal culture
• 3 in 5 enjoyed learning from their Elders and Aboriginal community leaders

With professionals such as doctors and dentists right across the country teaching children about having a good healthy lifestyle, the benefits about Indigenous issues are being learned; and the friendships made are about reconciliation and recognition between communities.

This Thank You Thursday, we say thank you to the team at Malpa and everyone involved in delivering the Young Doctors project.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick.

Thank You Thursday: Knitting for Good

As we settle in to the heart of Australian winter I thought it would be timely to share the story of a small non-profit that was established about this time fifteen years ago. Melbourne experienced an extremely cold winter in July of 2004, that was when Ros Rogers noticed how popular knitting had become in winter, particularly knitted scarves, and that led her rally some family and friends and they knitted 180 scarves for those experiencing homelessness. The following year Ros established an official not-for-profit organisation called kogo – which stands for knit one, give one.

Thank You Thursday: Dedicated Doulas

With less than 10% of Australian women having the same medical professionals through pregnancy and birth, a doula can bring continuity and fill the gap.  But what is a doula?

From the Greek word meaning ‘servant of a woman’, a doula is a trained birth support companion who provides practical and emotional support and information to a woman during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

Thank You Thursday: A Delicious Destiny

December is here and Christmas is fast-approaching. It’s a time of giving, sharing, tinsel and, of course, pudding! So, when choosing your pudding, Christmas treats or even gifts why not look for an option that is also having some social impact in the world too?

The Diamond Collection is a boutique range of quality goods handmade with love and care by some very special women in regional NSW. The collection includes an exclusive chocolate range made with the finest Belgian Callebaut® chocolate and at this time of the year, they specialise in Christmas puddings!

The Diamond Collection operates as a social enterprise of Destiny Haven, a non-profit residential place of healing for women whose lives have been shattered by life-controlling illnesses such as addiction, eating disorders and self-harm. Set on a beautiful 42 acre property in the picturesque Hunter Valley, Destiny Haven provides the professional, physical and emotional nurturing needed to restore the health and capacity of women.

In addition to generating income to support the much-needed service for our most disadvantaged women, The Diamond Collection also provides training and opportunity for them to learn skills that can transfer into employment in the future.

Destiny Haven’s residential program is unlike many other recovery programs in that it is long-term and women can reside there for up to a year or more. Residents live in a warm and caring family environment, sharing daily life and responsibilities of the household.

The Christmas puddings are made from quality ingredients with a three-generation recipe, cooked in the traditional coppers and wrapped in calico. Also on offer are the pudding truffle balls, a beautiful milk chocolate ganache blended with the homemade puddings and encased in a rich dark chocolate shell.

So this Christmas, we’d like to give a shout out to the team at Destiny Haven and their Diamonds. And, if it’s not with Destiny Haven, try to find others where you can be a little more sustainable with your shopping and gift-giving.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick