This edition of CRUcial Times focuses on the theme of "Friendship, connection and freely given relationships".
This edition contains the following articles:
From the president
Friendship is a two-way street
Michelle Mullane spends five afternoons a week taking care of children after school. She is a dog lover, an Elvis fanatic, a devout Catholic and a committed volunteer. Michelle shares the parenting of her four year old daughter with her partner and a foster family. In addition to the love and support she receives from a broad range of family members and friends, Michelle also appreciates the support of a small group of men and women who meet with her regularly. This is the story of what friendship brings to Michelle’s life.
She said hello to get to know me
Luke Cowan loves people and loves to talk with people – his family, friends, neighbours, coworkers and people he meets in life. Luke connects with people through a number of long-term volunteer positions, his neighbourhood, his membership of the Ukelele Club and poetry. Luke is an accomplished Brisbane poet, and writes and performs with the Brotherhood of the Wordless and Poets on the Park. He shares his love of poetry with primary school students in his Co-Teaching role at a local Brisbane school. Luke is a member of Kalpana, a collective that supports him to live in his own home.
The good life is about relationships
Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and the author of sixteen books – ten in the field of social psychology and ethics, and six novels. A newspaper columnist for over twenty five years, Hugh is currently an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, an adjunct professor in the faculty of arts at Charles Sturt University, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre. In 2015, Hugh was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia. This series of excerpts are taken from two of Hugh Mackay’s books, A Good Life and The Art of Belonging. They highlight the universal nature of what it means to live a Good Life.
A 23 year friendship (so far)
When Carol Adams went to volunteer at a special school she didn’t expect to find a friend like Les who has stuck with her as a good friend for 23 years. Les is not able to write his side of this story but people who know him feel pretty confident that he enjoys Carol’s company as much as she enjoys his.
Relationships and Community: The Essence of Life
Anna and Keith Coventry think a lot about their teenage son Will’s future and like most parents they particularly want him to be safe; to be loved and to belong. They share with us some very practical things they have done in the primary school years and are doing now to help that happen for Will. They have recently invited others to join them as a Support circle and while it hasn’t been easy to open up lots of private family business, they are seeing the benefits for them and for Will as they plan for his adult life.
Forming Relationships and Finding Family
Ronda Quinn and Maggie were introduced through a Citizen Advocacy program and together they have spurred each other on to bring about some very big changes. Ronda writes the story for both of them and illustrates the message that it is ‘people who keep people safe’. As a committed friend she has uncovered a side of Maggie’s life that our formal system didn’t get to. She also shows us how she worked with Maggie to increase the number of people in her life. Friendship with one person became a launching pad to bigger networks.
How does a worker assist people to build relationships with others in community?
Neil Barringham shares with us a list of some things that, from his experience, people in the supporting role can do to increase the chance of connection between the people they support and others. Neil Barringham is the manager of A Place to Belong, a small agency which focuses on assisting people with mental health challenges to participate more fully in community life. Neil continues to be involved as an Inclusion Worker and has a particular interest in facilitating spaces of safety, welcome and openness between people.