Community Visitors Volunteers
A workshop was facilitated recently at the Ella Centre in Haberfield with some wonderful volunteers who visit isolated people in nursing homes. With the aim of building group connection they shared stories of their own lives and discussed ways of encouraging this with the people they visit. Their co-ordinator Tatiana Faundez was happy with the process:
’ I want to thank you for holding the space so well. I sincerely felt that it was a good gathering and it allowed the volunteers to share where they were at and get to to know one another more. There is such a depth of understanding that can be accessed through our life stories.’
Against the Odds
I’m happy to announce that Edwin Ikwu’s story ‘Against the Odds’ has been completed. He reflects on his childhood in a small farming village in NIgeria, his career as an engineer and manager, and shares his experience of living with a severe disability. Edwin is motivated to share his story as an inspiration for others. The booklet costs $7 and proceeds from the sale will go towards the cost of his prostheses. To purchase a copy please go to: www.againsttheodds.me
Community Visitors Scheme Volunteers
Honour Your LIfe facilitated a workshop for the Community Visitors Scheme Volunteers in Parramatta on September 17th 2016. 20 people attended and participated enthusiastically in the sharing of some significant turning points in their lives. The manager Caterina Raccosta wrote this testimonial afterwards:
‘Megan has a gentle facilitating manner and was able to guide and encourage those present to share their unique and individual stories with a kind and compassionate ear. Her vast knowledge of writing and the importance of capturing people stories was emphasised in her presentation.
All 20 volunteers thoroughly enjoyed and were grateful for the workshop. They gained new skills not only in writing down their own stories but also how to encourage others to share theirs. The workshop was a success in helping those present to learn more about one another and deepen their connection.’
‘Life is what you make it’
Testimonial from Paul’s daughter Ingrid Russell:
When I first thought about recording my father’s history I knew it would be an enormous task. So when a friend recommended Megan I jumped at the idea. Megan made the process very easy. She transcribed what was a jumbled verbal recount into a sequential narrative, which not only told Dad’s history, but also created a very readable story. Megan also put the events into historical context. The designer she hired to finish the project did a great job to present a professional looking book which the family is very proud to share. Thank you Megan. I’m glad Dad’s story won’t be forgotten, and will be there for generations to come.
An extract from ‘LIfe is what you make it’ the life story of Paul Ritsch, who grew up in Austria and migrated to Australia after the war, where he became a leader in the Union movement, and fathered a family of two girls and many grandchildren.
‘I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. When I was boy, I was running around barefoot, now I have a pair of shoes, that’s my biggest achievement. All in between I’ve done because I wanted to do it, and wherever there was something came up and I got involved, I put my heart to it. I made friends and enemies. That’s all there is to it.
Life is what you make it. You can make a lot of it if you want. You can’t make a person to do what you want, it’s always the end of it, that they are going to do what they want. Some are born to go ahead and some are hangers on for the rest of their life and waiting for somebody else. And the whole thing is that you only achieve what you do yourself. You don’t wait for the lottery, and you don’t wait for anybody to give you anything. People give to you if you give, and people help you when you help yourself. And that’s all you can say.’
‘George’s story’ is selling well in the Blue Mountains, with funds raised going to the local refugee support group. The booklet is based on a series of interviews I did with George about his early life as a refugee, and coming to settle in Australia where, after an active working life he continues to support his community by volunteering.
Read an article about ‘George’s story’ in the Blue Mountains Gazette
‘Megan, I have just finished reading George’s story - what a wonderful thing you have done documenting his extraordinary life. I am so impressed - it’s a great gift to all of us. So valuable to know the depth, courage, experience & passion here in our community’. Mary W.
‘You have done an excellent job in producing this important piece of history of a man who has endured many difficulties but continues to assist others when possible.’ William H.
‘I was very impressed with how you tackled George’s story and that you did it largely from a few interviews’ Peter N.