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Who is in your neighbourhood? How are they doing? Do they need anything? These are questions we ask ourselves daily. And we should.
Remember the time when you could ask your neighbour for help? For sugar? A tow? A cup of tea? Do you know your neighbours? Increasingly we don’t. And it’s not just that we don’t know them, we don’t see them. And honestly, we understand. Life is a lot. And it can be hard. And scary. This probably means that there are people in your neighbourhood who feel the same way.
For some, it’s harder and scarier than what the rest of us know. And the big issue here is those four words; the, rest, of, us.
Why is there a divide? Why do we define us and them? Who are they?
Oh so many questions and we never did philosophy at university. This really is one of our most passionate pleas. Get to know the people in your neighbourhood. Get to know them on a deeper level. It’s the human connection that separates us as a species.
I met a man one night on my way home from after-work drinks in my younger years. He was sad. He had no home. He had little food and little money. And yet he was happy. He made jokes, told me a story - two stories actually, and I sat next to him and listened for as long as I could spare before my train left.
I think that night I learnt a valuable lesson. I judged before he spoke but I left with an understanding.
This man had left his family home in shame after befalling addiction, a trait that had plagued his lineage. This man left his family, for fear of disappointing them further, himself further, causing pain and for believing he was no longer of use to them. This man was also incredibly smart. He used to be an accountant, he made steady money, had completed school and following a string of illness and depression had sought council in synthetic relief.
This man began to make mistakes, minor ones he tells me, though due to his age at the time it was enough to frame a doorway from which he was pushed at work, at home.
Not long after this event, I met another accountant. Similar age. Had a family, a home in my neighbourhood and was working for a chain of tax agents. He also suffered bouts of depression and had chosen a different path to manage his circumstance than the man I had met a few weeks earlier.
The man I had met on my way to the train station in Sydney was at the time waiting for housing. Currently, the NSW Department of Housing has a waitlist for those that need assistance with getting into housing. A waitlist to get on a waitlist. This waitlist is 10+ years.
Wayside Chapel is no secret establishment. They offer services and programs with dignity, respect and love at the heart of their approach. They see everyone as a person to be met, not a problem to be solved. Wayside cover a few important aspects in this space from community service centres that provide much-needed guidance and assistance getting support from council and organisations, to providing meeting spaces for those needing mental support.
It is because Wayside Chapel is willing to listen, to provide support and opportunities that earthYARD feels so strongly about their mission.
earthYARD has a pretty big vision. Education services, training, skill development and opportunity are all on our vision board. We are still young and small so can only do what we can with what we have. The financial resources required to achieve all we wish to achieve is a way off yet. Until we get to the place we need to be to launch the next phase of One Good Thing, an equal portion of our One Good Thing fund will be donated to Wayside Chapel to support their efforts.
On an average week Wayside Chapel provides:
More needs to be done and more can be achieved.