Tonight is the CEO Sleepout, and I've been asked a few times why I'm not taking part in it this year... 2 reasons; firstly, because part of the goal of the sleepeout is to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness, and as it's a passionate issue for me, I know my time and efforts can be put to other uses in this field. Secondly, so many of my friends and acquaintances are involved that I find I'm encouraging donations to so many others who are doing it for the first time.
The CEO Sleepout is an incredibly fantastic way of both raising awareness and raising funds, and I can't praise the St Vincent De Paul Society enough for both this event and the tremendous work they do every night of the week.
For our part, the Big Bang Ballers will continue to run camps and day-sessions for at-risk and homeless kids in the region, in partnership with St Vinnie's, and we wish all the CEO's tonight a great experience and hopefully not too much freezing wind.
Walking into a room full of Australian volunteers preparing for deployment is a great lesson in tempering preconceptions and avoiding stereotypes. It’s easy to imagine all volunteers being of the same ilk; ultra-progressive, left wing, vegetarian… I am joking of course, but I do note that several of you nodded in agreement as I said that. I admit that I had that image firmly planted in my head as I walked in to my first briefing session, wondering frantically if I would fit in with the group that was already there. Here’s the extraordinary, powerful side of Australian culture that too often goes unnoticed by even our own people. Lending a hand to one’s neighbor isn’t a chore, a monumental gathering of effort. For Australians, it’s just a part of who we are. In that room and in so many rooms I have been in since that moment, I was privileged to be swept away by the diversity of people representing their country, representing my country, who were prepar…