Volunteers of the month (June) II

Name and age:  James Mullan, 21

How long you been volunteering for?  2

How many days do you volunteer? 1

What and where are you studying? Media and Film Studies at the prestigious University of New South Wales

What are your passions?  Documentaries, efficient easy cooking, human rights, Rugby League, home improvement and invigorating good conversation.

James Mullan

James Mullan

What do you like the most about working at the Two Wolves? There’s a lot of room to make a difference, if you want to make an impact your ideas are supported and the results are tangible. It’s a blank canvas and all the volunteers/staff get around positive initiatives.

How did you get to know The Two Wolves? Through friends and the Cardoner Project.

Have you been on an immersion? 2014 Thailand 6 Month Service Placement and 6 months in Nepal 2018 is on the horizon.

What are your plans for 2017? I wish they were more interesting than working at Target and studying but need to save up for Nepal next year. I hope to keep getting further involved in the Two Wolves, Bellamine House and finding time for the things that really matter.

Why would you recommend to volunteer at The Two Wolves?  What’s there not to recommend, going to a “job” where you care about where the moneys going and everyone around you is on the same mission. It’s a great community environment to be in.

Volunteers of the month (June) I

Name and age: Vincent Tsang, 21

How long you been volunteering for? Since opening

How many days do you volunteer? I don't volunteer as much in the bar recently although I really need to get back into it! But most weeks I volunteer at the wolves twice a week in order to discuss and complete creative content.

What and where are you studying? I am studying Integrated Product Design at UTS.

Vincent Tsang

Vincent Tsang

What are your passions? Im passionate about satisfying people though good deeds. At the moment I get to accomplish this through the various graphics and designs that can be seen around the wolves.

What do you like the most about working at the Two Wolves? I really love the Two Wolves as it is a place were people of faith can come and be truly who they are. I also love bring people along to the wolves, often surprising them by sharing its story and the people who are involved as a volunteer run social enterprise. It helps me be myself and helps bring my networks closer.

How did you get to know The Two Wolves? Through the Jesuit community

Have you been on an immersion? Yes, Nepal December 2016

What are your plans for 2017? To continue being involved with the two wolves creative committee with some exciting projects installed.

Why would you recommend to volunteer at The Two Wolves? I recommend people who are interested to volunteer at the wolves, not only for hospitality experience but as a gateway to meet the fantastic people within its network.

Volunteer of the Month (May)

Name and age: Mathilde Farley, 18

How long you been volunteering for? About three and a half months.

How many days do you volunteer? I volunteer one day each week.

What and where are you studying? I’m currently on a gap year. I am going to study Biomedical science at UTS in 2018.

What are your passions? My passions are nutrition, yoga, social justice and contribution, and my relationships with my family and friends.

What do you like the most about working at The Two Wolves? I love how it is such a warm venue that welcomes all people and allows genuine social interactions. It gives young people an opportunity to socialise with like-minded individuals while contributing to a social enterprise that extends to many countries in need.

How did you get to know The Two Wolves? I found out about the Two Wolves through my brother, Ned Farley, who went on the Nepal immersion in 2014 and has been living above the restaurant in the Bank for two semesters.

Have you been on an immersion? I went on the February Nepal immersion, I will be going on the Ignatian Camino pilgrimage in July and to Guatemala in January 2018.

What are your plans for 2017? I am working, volunteering and travelling to the USA and Spain (Camino).

Why would you recommend to volunteer at The Two Wolves? Volunteering at the Two Wolves is such an enjoyable experience that opens up relationships with people from all over Sydney and even the world. The overseas immersions that are offered give volunteers an incredible experience that you wouldn’t get from any other organisation or travel experience.

 

Volunteer of the Month (February)

Justin Shaw, serving at the The Two Wolves Community Cantina

Justin Shaw, serving at the The Two Wolves Community Cantina

An applause for our volunteer of the month Justin Shaw!!!
His hard work and dedication have been outstanding. Well done!! 
A little bit more about him below:

Name and age: 
Justin Shaw. 18 y.o

How long you been volunteering for? 
8 months

How many days do you volunteer? 
once every fortnight

What and where are you studying? 
Science UNSW Kensington

What are your passions? 
Playing basketball, volleyball and reading

What do you like the most about working at the Two Wolves? 
It is pretty fun, relax, and at the same time you can contribute to a good cause and learn. Two of my best mates were doing a service year in Thailand, and that motivated me to join. Great to have experience to work in the future.

How did you get to know The Two Wolves? 
I went to St Aloysius

Have you been on an immersion? 
I went to the Philippines for 3 weeks, in year 10. We were 6 days building houses in Gawad Kalinga, 5 days teaching kids and visiting hospitals. (not with the Two wolves Abroad)

What are your plans for 2017? 
Study and I would like to go to the Mexico immersion with The Two Wolves Abroad

Why would you recommend to volunteer at The Two Wolves? 
You are contributing to a good cause, there is a really nice group of people, everyone is friendly, and you feel you are doing something good

The Two Wolves Cantina Responds to the Vietnam Floods

Torrential rains started in Vietnam on 13 October causing some of the worst floods ever experienced in the provinces of Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh. It is believed water discharged by two large hydropower dams on 14 October, without adequate warning for communities already battling the heavy rains, added to the severity. Over 600,000 people have been directly affected by the floods, with an estimated 100,000 houses fully submerged.

The Two Wolves Community Cantina an initiative of The Cardoner Project has been able to donate 20K in emergency flood relief to the Saint Vincent Diem Centre for Children with Disability in Central Vietnam. The center is run by Sisters of the Lovers of the Holy Cross and The Cardoner Project has been closely associated with their work in Vietnam since January 2010 when Fr. David Braithwaite SJ took the first ever immersion group there. Many of our wonderful young volunteers at The Two Wolves have visited and worked at this special place on immersions, or longer-term placements.

Since The Cardoner Project began in 2010, through the amazing generousity of our network, we have been able to donate a total of 180K to the Sisters to allow them to care for some of the most vulnerable children in their community and beyond. We have also sent over 200 young adult volunteers there to experience their deep faith and love for those in their care as part of our volunteer immersions and longer term volunteer core work. 

Lessons Learnt in Thailand

Half way through his Service Year, Tom Jenkins has a lot to say about what he has gained so far from his experience living in Thailand. 

Coming into the second half of the year has been somewhat of a shock, not only because of the realisation of the limited time I have left but also because of the speed at which this point has arrived. The past six months have been nothing less than amazing, the experiences are ones I will cherish for the rest of my life and the friendships forged will be ones that will remain strong as the years pass. Teaching has been extremely rewarding, watching the kids develop their English ability as well as seeing them grow as young people truly makes the work worthwhile. Whilst amazing, teaching the students is a very tiring job, not only are you running classes and preparing lessons, you are also getting to know the students and teachers on an individual level day by day. It is the interactions with teachers though that is perhaps most astonishing. While most are kind and work hard enough for the students, it is the level of effort some teacher’s put in which is most disheartening. Arriving late to school and classes and continual absences from school are not uncommon among Thai teachers and allows greater insight into the attitudes of some Thai people towards the minority races, who call the mountains home. This rift, which exists between the Thai and Minority Karen, Hmong and Thai Yai people, often pushes individuals of these heritages to a degree of shame which pollutes their desire to be part of their culture, often avoiding interaction within their community and culture, out of embarrassment and fear of judgment by Thai people. While discussing this topic with a close friend of mine from a neighboring village, he told me that when children begin school in kindergarten, these students are told not to do, as their own culture would have it. While this behavior by teachers has decreased in recent years, I’ve heard stories in which Thai teachers refer to their students by the derogatory terms, which were created by Thai people to refer to these minorities.

It is my experience of the cultures I have been living with for the past six months, however, which have become my most rewarding experiences. Becoming one with the culture, assimilating into the community and learning about their ways of life have allowed me a greater understanding of my role here. Not only am I an English teacher, but also a student, learning about the ways of life, which are, in many ways, being quickly altered as a result of outside influences. To be able to become part of a society, which is so drastically different from my own, has been truly amazing. There is a level of community and hospitality, which does not exist within Australia that is so fulfilling to experience. What I have learnt from these people are lessons which one could never learn in school, lessons which I hope I will be able to replicate in my own life upon my return to Sydney.

 

Halfway Through the Year

As Harry Ryan reaches the halfway point in his service year, he looks back at the first six months fondly...

Looking back and realising that I have almost completed 6 of my 12 months in Thailand is very hard to believe. As many boys have said previously time is moves incredibly fast over here. I am extremely pleased that I embarked on this incredible journey for 12 months, as I would be thoroughly disappointed if my time in Thailand was to come to an end now.

I consider myself extremely lucky to be one of the three Riverview boys that have committed a year of service in Thailand, and to have the help from boys over here now, and previous service year boys, which has been incredibly beneficial.

There are currently 13 of us here in Thailand at the moment located in villages called Huay Tong, Bangkad, and Mae Pon. We regularly get together in Huay Tong and occasionally in Chiang Mai city to meet up and exchange stories and ideas on our service in our schools and communities, and to help each other learn the Thai language.

As cliché as it sounds, every day in Thailand presents something different however one thing that never changes is a constant generosity and good nature the people we work with. The teachers, and even students, at the school are more than willing to give up their time to help you either learn the language, or get to know the rich culture of Thailand.

One of the countless stories that show their endless generosity happened to me during the first month. The boys at Huay Tong were looking for one of the many waterfalls that surround us when my motorbike broke down.

After encouraging the boys to leave me behind to look for a mechanic I found myself at the bottom of hill and, after attempting to push to bike up the hill, a local boy, who knew very little English and I knew very little Thai at the time, arrived on the scene.  Half an hour later he managed to somehow fix the bike and, before he sent me on my way, he told me that he went to school at Huay Tong and knew that we were the new boys working for the project, and was incredibly happy that he could help. This is but one of a many stories I could tell of problems we have had and the local people cheerfully helping us.

To finish this very brief reflection, I can’t begin to tell you how great it is to finish a day with a kindy student cheerfully yelling out “good morning teacher” at 3:30 pm while riding your bike home from school.

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Waio

Josh Conlon is nearly halfway through his Service Year and realising how hard it is going to be to say goodbye to his second home, Chuuk. 

This week brought back something the last month has been lacking, a purpose. The start of the local summer school has finally brought with it a return to the classroom. The return of purpose has meant the boredom that has plagued us for the last month has finally been alleviated, but somewhat unexpectedly it has also alleviated my desire to leave. It has been a hard few weeks, seeing many of the Americans leave. Colleagues and friends whose absence has already been distinctly felt. Students and teachers alike wept during goodbyes and final nights on the roof while filled with their usual laughter had a somber shadow looming over them. It is a testament to the magic of this place that despite the at times difficult living conditions and the unavoidable frustrations of life here, almost all were visibly reluctant to leave. I came in expecting this to be a great year, and sure I had high hopes. But I did not expect this, I did not expect to find a family in the repurposed husk of Imperial Japan's war effort, I did not expect to find contentment stranded in the middle of the pacific. I did not expect to fall in love with Chuuk. Chuukese is an odd language, it words have no consistent spelling, and many will get different definitions depending on who you ask. 'Waio' is the Chuukese equivalent of goodbye, but it meaning is so much greater than a simple goodbye. When I asked my host mother for a definition she said it was a word said in sad goodbyes meaning "in my heart forever". And soon it will come my turn to say waio, while only for a month, this last week is giving me a sense of what it will be like having to say "waio chuuk" for the final time. So while I still cannot wait to see my family once more, it is a bitter goodbye I must say to this place. The prospect of a new group of Americans and a second semester of teaching is exciting, but my heart is weighed by the knowledge that sooner than I'll know, I'll be doing all this once more, and then it really will be 'waio'.

Farewell to the Cardoner Project General Manager, Pauline Mueller

The Cardoner Project would like to farewell Pauline Mueller and wish her the best for her upcoming travels. Pauline has been working as TCP General Manager since 2015 and will maintain her involvement with TCP upon her return from overseas.  Have a read of what she has to say about working at the Cardoner Project:

What drew me to working with The Cardoner Project?  

"What doth it profit a man if he gains the whole world but suffers the loss of his own soul."*

 Exposure to Jesuit philosophy has come through my father, my son, my brother and my uncles, all of whom have had a Jesuit education. The last fifteen months has allowed me as a lay person to experience cura personalis.

 I was drawn to the mission of The Cardoner Project by Fr David Braithwaite. Spiritual, intellectual and human transformation is important for us all but more so for our youth who live in a society that is global and inclusive and yet alienating all at the same time. Technology has been a major disrupter in ways we are only realising now - what are the real impacts of facebook? of the 30 minute grab? of the need to multi task?  of the leaders we deserve?

Opportunity and choice abounds between the ages of 18-25, creating challenges and threats and I find parallels in that this stage of my life faces similar disruptions. Many term this" the third act" and for me it means pondering the above quote from the Bible. What am I living for? What is the purpose of my life? Focusing on things of value lead me to The Cardoner Project and a glimmer of understanding of Jesuit principles.

The experience has therefore been a two way street, imparting my knowledge and experience to develop the Project and gaining a stepping stone on my journey.

The Cardoner Project is now an integrated set of programmes -  Bellarmine, The Two Wolves Community Cantina and Immersions and Service Year. Each programme offers our youth an opportunity to engage and be formed through an avenue that suits their needs, whether it is being part of a volunteer community (more than 150 strong), living in Bellarmine House and forming an important core of the Project with a long term commitment to the mission of the Project or being formed through an immersion or service year. Each Programme now has a Manager with accountability for strategy, finance, staff and risk. Finance, HR, IT systems are in place - but this is a start up and systems will change and improve. In particular, it has been a pleasure to work with our young staff and see them grow and develop. They have been responsible for many important aspects of the Project. All of them are our future and if so the future is bright.

What have I gained?

The confirmation and articulation of principles by which to live and lead -

* principles and virtues which may not be absolutely applicable in all circumstances, but must stand at the ground of all ethical questioning and thinking, and which, therefore, cannot, without trepidation, be compromised

*Agape -The God-given, human capacity to see the intrinsic dignity of another person irrespective of affection, friendship, or romantic feelings. This vision of the dignity, goodness, and mystery of the other gives rise to benevolent intention, compassion and forgiveness. We want the other to prosper even if we do not directly benefit. We want to prevent the other from suffering even at the cost of our time and energy. We want the human community to be better off for our time and effort because we know that this is the one purpose of life that is truly lasting and worthy of us

* The heart directs the mind to meaning and purpose in life. It orients the mind toward the highest possible aspirations, to living life to the fullest, to the highest human emotions, and to our most creative expression. The mind, in its turn, guides the heart to what is reasonable and responsible..... the mind's guidance of the heart depends on knowing where one stands and where one wants to be amid the panoply of possibilities that the culture has to offer.

And finally, it is having a better understanding of the Magis.

When I want to see evidence of the impact ofThe Cardoner Project I only have to walk past the kitchen with it's dirty dishes piled high and a volunteer happily scrubbing away with a smile, or watch our young stafflead the discussion at a Board meeting on ways of helping others find their way or our apprentice chef asking if she can work more days, then I know we are moving to furthering the mission as it moves from outputs to outcomes -  formation and service for the poor, and I hope to return later this year to help develop the latter.

*Spitzer, S.J., Robert J. "Educating in the Jesuit Tradition." Gonzaga University President's Message (2000).

Pauline Mueller