Name: Heart to Heart
Pursuit: Heart to Heart is an initiative of Great Lakes College, Forster and Homebase Youth Services, to take nine young women on a life–changing humanitarian excursion to Vietnam. The girls are students of Great Lakes College, Forster Campus, aged between 13 and 17. With community support the youths will raise funds for the cost of their journey and funds for the children of an orphanage in Vung Tau, Vietnam. These young women have previously participated in an art based self- esteem building program. To create a bond with the orphanage children, the Great Lakes College girls will take with them this knowledge and teach their new found art skills to the youths at the orphanage. Whilst on their fund raising journey the girls will learn skills such as networking, community engagement, fund raising, communication and entrepreneurial skills. Many young people today face challenges in their lives. Heart to Heart aims to inspire our local youths to overcome these challenges and take from this journey a cultivation of determination, courage, compassion, kindness, giving, and a broader view of the world as a global village. For more information about the orphanage in Vung Tau go to:
When did you start?
My Heart to Heart journey started in March 2012 when I was inspired by My Houng Le the Australian/Vietnamese woman, who dedicates her life to an orphanage in Vung Tau, Vietnam. I was touched by the heart of the children who live in the orphanage. I came back to Australia and saw the potential in taking young people who face challenges in their lives, on a journey to help young people with struggles in a country such as Vietnam
Career highlight or biggest achievement?
My three children, Holly, Shannon and Reuben are my biggest achievement.
What is your dream?
My dream is to build Heart to Heart into an initiative that is carried out yearly, not only with children from the Great Lakes region but schools throughout NSW. My dream is that this first adventure of Heart to Heart will be a template for others to use.
Who or what have inspired you?
In 2006 I lost my beautiful 11 year old daughter Shannon. This changed my life forever. One of the ways it changed my life is that it opened my eyes to the suffering of those around me, especially children and young people. Helping young people change their lives in a positive way inspires me.
Who's your hero?
I have many hero's. One of my hero's at the moment is My Houng Le, the Australian Vietnamese woman who runs the orphanage in Vung Tau, Vietnam. She selflessly gives herself to the children under her care. She has her own amazing story and has overcome hardship in her life.
Any other special talents?
I am an artist and I love to paint. I specialise in portraiture. Painting is a form of meditation and allows me to express my feelings through colour. I love portraiture as I find it fascinating and challenging capturing a persons spirit and true essence and expressing it on a canvas.
My favourite music is by Jack River (my daughter Holly) and my good friend Lisa Mitchell.
My favourite movie is 'As It Is In Heaven'
My favourite book is Cloud Street by Tim Winton.
Favourite TV Show?
My favourite TV show is The Good Wife.
Favourite food is Indian.
How the grant will help you/how will you use the money?
The Aim for the stars grant firstly and foremost has boosted my moral and given me strength and belief in the Heart to Heart journey. The grant will allow us to confidently move forward with our fund raising. On the 5th April we are holding a fund raising event, the Miss Saigon Ball, here in Forster/Tuncurry. We will use a small amount of the funds to help with th decorations for this event..
Last words: Quote or Motto you live by?
If you want to be happy, practise compassion. If you want others to be happy, practise compassion. The Dalai Lama