1ST edition 2013
this issue: - A ‘FAMILY‘ FOR THE FORCE - OASIS OFFERS LIFE-CHANGING SUPPORT - GRATITUDE FOR RICH LIFE FLOWS ON TO OTHERS
YOUR WILL A GIFT OF A LIFETIME
News & stories from The Salvation Army Wills & Bequests team
A ‘family’ for the force Photo: Shairon Paterson
“My life really began to unravel, I was injured at work and basically I did not know how to deal with it. It was a significant injury and it affected my home life and my ability to do my job. My marriage, my career were disintegrating before my eyes. I was self destructing.” – Anthony It was not until he was almost at the point of taking his own life that police officer Anthony truly realised how desperately he needed help. Today he is a deeply committed member of The Salvation Army First Floor Wollongong ‘Ohana’ support group for police personnel. Ohana, Anthony explains, means “family”. “It is an idea from the Hawaiian culture that goes beyond family bloodlines,” he says. “The idea is that we are all bound together and we must support, encourage, work and look out for each other.” Before joining the support group, Anthony felt he had nowhere to turn. After some struggles in the job and then the major injury, he says: “I was really very ill, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I thought that everyone, including God, had abandoned me. I was ready to take my own life.” Hospitalised for a time for his own safety, Anthony says soon after discharge: “I received a telephone call from a former work mate. During that conversation he told me that he had been going to Ohana and that I should get along.” He says of the group: “It has become a very important part of my healing and growth as a person.”
The Ohana Support group, led by Jayne Wilson (right), provided life-changing support for Anthony (left).
Ohana was formed several years ago after Illawarra Police rescue chief Manii Verzosa, who has Hawaiian heritage, lost his wife and child in childbirth.
addictive behaviours and attitudes that tend to break down family relationships and the ability to live in a safe, healthy and functioning environment.
Manii was supported through the grieving process by Illawarra (NSW) Salvation Army police chaplain and Wollongong Salvation Army First Floor Program founder Jayne Wilson.
A long-term partnership has been formed with Wollongong University and the First Floor program has developed training modules that are now being used locally, nationally and, in 2013, internationally.
After officiating at the funeral, Jayne and Manii kept in contact and as time went on the pair decided to turn their regular meetings into a wider support group. Anthony is one of many police and former police personnel who have since joined the group. The First Floor Program (which hosts Ohana), also provides a wide range of ground-breaking and ‘best-practice’ programs, groups and training modules that empower families to identify their strengths and values. These often become distorted and even lost in the experience of having a loved one locked in the cycle of substance misuse, with
The service recently moved from its cramped and ageing office to new Salvation Army premises, continuing their important work in the community with the support of generous bequest funding. The First Floor program continues to be located in the Wollongong Corps (church) Complex. For Anthony, one of the thousands supported through The First Floor program each year, “the ongoing support has truly been life-changing”. “I now have a completely new perspective on life and my future,” Anthony says, “something that a few years ago I would not have imagined to be possible.”
1st edition 2013
“A lot of the young people that we work with actually live with their grandparents. They’re in a later phase of their life where they should be able to kick back and enjoy things, but instead they are becoming a parent all over again.” - James Cameron One of the key programs offered at The Salvation Army’s Oasis Hunter Youth Network, is GPS - Grand Parents Support, for grandparents who are “parenting” their grandchildren. The program includes workshops to introduce grandparents to the technology their grandchildren use, including the internet and social media. Recently Oasis Hunter organised a camp at The Salvation Army’s Collaroy Centre to give grandparents and their grandchildren some time out.
“We’ve developed the support program because it is about not just being able to get out and support young people, but also being able to support the people who support young people,” James explains. The centre, in the Newcastle suburb of Hamilton, which is supported in part by bequest funding, also includes the Olive Branch training café, plus ‘The Bridge’ drug and alcohol rehabilitation service, crisis and medium-term housing, one-on-one counselling and case management. “We are not just a RTO (Registered Training Organisation), not just a youth service –we’re a holistic approach to young people bettering themselves. We’re trying to skill-up young people to take on the world and be successful in whatever they choose.” “A lot of the young people we see have been told they’re not worth anything,” says James. “We work to help them start believing that they can achieve. Photo: Shairon Paterson
“One girl we trained through the café had so many barriers - mental health, drug and alcohol, domestic violence, unstable living arrangements. “I see her walking to work now and I think, ‘Wow, here’s someone who’s learnt to get by in the real world’ - what a massive change!”
Gratitude for rich life flows on to others When Joy’s* daughter spoke to Alana Parker of The Salvation Army Aged Care Plus (ACP) about her mother’s gifting of her estate to the service, she explained that her mum had been orphaned at six months of age. “Mum came into the world with nothing and it was her wish to leave the world with nothing so that other people who cannot help themselves can be supported,” she says. Although Joy never asked for help from The Salvation Army and always lived independently, it was the wartime experience of her partner of 49 years, Ken*, who experienced the sacrificial care of Army officers, that set the scene. “Ken’s affection for The Salvation Army, coupled with Joy’s desire to help others, ultimately led to the precious gift that will help so many,” says Alana. ACP provides a range of agedcare services including residential, independent living units, community care packages and respite services throughout Queensland, NSW and in the ACT. “Our vision is to deliver a service that meets the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each person with excellence,” says Alana. In addition, Alana explains there is a strong culture of ACP residents caring for others. This includes an annual walkathon held in all centres which in 2012 raised almost $75,000 to support The Salvation Army’s Streetlevel homeless support services and a bush ambulance program in Malawi. “So,” Alana says, “Joy’s legacy will go on to have a direct impact on all our residents and care recipients and will also flow on to help The Salvation Army add a depth of richness to many, many more lives.”
Youth worker James Cameron with two of the grandmothers involved in Oasis Hunter’s GPS program.
For credit card donations phone 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) or visit salvos.org.au | Letters and feedback welcome Published by The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory Communications and Public Relations Department PO Box A229, Sydney South NSW 1232 Editor: Communications and Public Relations Secretary Phone: (02) 9266 9631 ©The Salvation Army 2013 Wills & Bequest Freecall Number 1800 337 082 | salvos.org.au/wills
Please remember The Salvation Army when you next prepare or update your Will