Greetings everyone, I wanted to take an opportunity to introduce myself to the Operation Mobilise community. I am from Mooroolbark, 23 years old and studying a Bachelor of Social Work with Honours at RMIT University. I am passionate about social justice and human rights and feel compelled to serve the wider community. When I came across Operation Mobilise last year I was excited to get involved as I felt my values aligned with theirs. I found the outreaches to be confronting yet rewarding and I've learnt a lot. It was humbling to speak with people experiencing homelessness; I became aware of my privilege and grateful for what I have. It is my honour and human responsibility to work alongside people experiencing homelessness; survivors of a terrible system. I was fortunate to be promoted to Outreach Coordinator last year and am grateful for this opportunity to serve God and the wider community. Stepping into this role has taught me about leadership, proactivity and responsibility. We look forward to expanding Mobilise to provide others the opportunity to step into leadership roles, give back to the community and learn along the way. Mobilise is a movement with traction. It is exciting to imagine what will happen. Going forward, I hope to see more people touched by our cause and stigmas removed. I hope to see legislative changes that support not oppress individuals. I hope to see equality, unity and community in Australia. Let us be the change.
Monday 19th February marked our first outreach with students from Melbourne University. I had forgotten how vibrant and inspired the youth are, not yet jaded by the world. The outreach was a great success. We were proud of our Operation Mobilise volunteers Tim, Meena and Jamie who stepped into the role of Team Leaders on Monday. We had 12 students which we split into 4 teams with one Team Leader per team. Once the teams were allocated their street, given a quick prep talk, we ventured out. The students described the experience as ‘amazing’ and ‘inspiring’. They felt privileged and very much enjoyed the opportunity to engage with the homeless community, realising the impact a simple ‘hello’ or how a warm smile can change the outlook of someone’s day.
My group felt uplifted and hopeful after our first conversation with a gentleman living on the streets. The young man told us about his faith in Jesus, and explained it was what kept him hopeful that everything would work out. We were inspired by his positivity despite his circumstances and were glad that he had things in place to get him off the streets. The second gentleman we met inspired us by his generosity. He mentioned he needed a jumper to keep him warm. We offered him multiple jumpers but after choosing one he said ‘please, pass it on to someone who needs it more than I.’ We were amazed by how considerate he was, despite having so little. Invigorated and uplifted, we headed back to the other students and volunteers to de-brief. There were many positive stories and lessons learnt. Students remarked on how human the homeless are. They were blown away that there are not many differences between us and a person living on the street other than the fact that life has often thrown them more curve balls and have dealt them a harder hand. We were encouraged by how resilient they are and by the ability of some to take responsibility of the way their life has panned out. That while it may not have been their fault they were abused as children or their parents had passed away, they acknowledge that they had made bad choices that hindered their ability to break free from homelessness and now they ask for a second chance. A chance to break free and to not let their circumstances define them. We look forward to more opportunities to work with the youth so that we can overcome prejudice and slowly dismantle homelessness.
Thank you all for your ongoing support & kindness to the Mobilise movement. It's a pleasure to serve together as we work towards a better world for us all.