I'm always intrigued by the reasons people choose a particular cause to support. Usually the cause has touched their heart and I have found the stories to be as interesting as the work they do, so I would like to share my story.
I grew up in a home where my parents instilled in us the need to give back and they set a fine example of community service that I have tried to emulate and instil in my own children. Teaching them that giving time is just as valuable as giving money is very important to me.
I have volunteered and donated to many charities and organisations over the years, including years the Big Brother/Big Sister program in Sydney, where I met my 'little sister' Tracy, who is now all grown up and an accomplished television journalist who I maintain a close sisterly relationship with. I also spent many years in various roles, including President of the Parents' Association at my children's school.
Most recently, with very little spare time to volunteer, I have had to concede that giving money is how I can best play my part in my community. The question is, how does one choose a cause when there are so many needy and worthwile ones to choose from? Who is needier, the sick or the poor, the young or the elderly, the homeless, the hungry, the mentally ill or the disabled? If we choose one, does that mean that the others dont touch our hearts as deeply? Obviously not, but still, its a battlefield out there, with everyone wanting a cut of our charity dollars.
I guess if I were to answer the question; who am I, I would say, in order, an artist, a wife, a mother. Controversial I know, but in the bigger picture of my life, I am not happy without being creative, and my children cant be happy without a happy mum and loving parents, so its art, relationship, children. Of course, my family are the MOST important thing in my life and it is from them that I draw the inspiration for my charity of choice.
If asking myself; what has moved, shaped, defined, changed, touched ME, the answer would be, most profoundly, losing my mother from Melanoma when she was just 47 (I was 23). When I had my own children, a daughter, then my twins just 16 months later, that loss was like a gigantic sink hole in my heart, made even worse because my husband had also lost his mother when she was just 52 of breast cancer. I had only been living in Melbourne for a couple of years, so with no really close friends, family or, most importantly, a mother to turn to, the loss was magnified. There were times when I felt like I was drowning under the weight of responsibility and failing miserably in the role I had believed I was born to.
I grew up in Brisbane in a Jewish home, though not a very large Jewish community, in fact, there was very little understanding of Judaism in the wider community in those days. It doesnt help fitting in while feeling different, and as a teenager it wasn't easy. My parents, however, were powerhouses within our community and seemed to me, at the time, to be on every committee and volunteered at every event. My mother was most especially committed to the National Council of Jewish Women.
What I love and have always loved about NCJWA is the work they do in supporting both Jewish and NON-Jewish projects in Australia and in Israel. Additionally, their projects fostering interfaith dialogue is both inspiring and necessary as our world faces unimaginable horrors in the name of religion.
It is one particular project that is close to my heart - 'Caring Mums'.
"Caring Mums is a Melbourne based community program. It is a confidential, home-based, free-of-charge and non-denominational service that provides emotional support to mums of newborn babies and women during pregnancy.
While pregnancy and motherhood are exciting times, it is normal for new mums to sometimes feel isolated, overwhelmed or unsupported. While these feelings are natural, not all mothers have support systems to help them manage. Many find it challenging to cope with the changing role that motherhood presents.
Caring Mums are trained volunteers and mums themselves, who provide a shoulder to lean-on. Although not health professionals, volunteers are dedicated to giving individual support to mums through weekly visits for up to the first twelve months of their baby’s life. The philosophy is based on ‘attachment theory’ and the empowerment of women, enabling healthy and nurturing relationships. The program promotes linking mums to vital networks and resources within their own communities.
The program is coordinated by family counsellor, parent educator, group facilitator and supervisor Michelle Kornberg, who trains the volunteers and matches them with new mums."
Oh, if only a program like this had been available to me in my early day of motherhood.
In the past few years, my Mother's Day 'Magnets for Mums' campaign has raised a fair bit of money, but the amount of work to make the magnets was huge, which, in the early stages of my business was fine, but as I got busier, it just became unmanageable.
So, to support this wonderful program I have used images from my 'Signature Symbols' collection of original art to create a range of greeting cards with a percentage of the proceeds supporting 'Caring Mums'. I will be continually adding new designs to the range and this project will be ongoing for as long as you want to buy the cards. I have to say, I think they are gorgeous, bright, glossy and worth every cent.
Please get on board and BUY THESE CARDS to support a cause that is very dear to my heart and hopefully to all mums. Until Mother's Day they are 4 cards for $10 with FREE postage! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to order.