Community Spotlight: Saskia Groen, Volunteer at Community Northern Beaches Crisis Drop-in

Today is Saskia Groen's last regular Wednesday shift as a volunteer at Community Northern Beaches. We interviewed her about her role. Thank you for your huge contribution and for the mountains of kindness that you have shown to the guests of the Centre.

What motivated you to get involved?

I have teenage sons. Six or so years ago I was driving along South Dowling Street in the city when I was approached at the traffic lights by a teenage boy asking for money. He was clearly sleeping rough and dealing with addition. I looked into this sweet, open, gentle boys eyes and saw my own kids. It was a pretty defining moment for me. I suddenly became so much more alert and conscious of the plight of homelessness, ever increasing numbers of Sydney’s rough sleepers, and the under resourcing of mental health services, rehab/detox, and social housing. I started as a volunteer for Missionbeat and soon became an employee. They are a city based homeless service so as a Seaforth resident I decided last year to support my own community as well and started as a volunteer with the amazing Community Northern Beaches.

Geoff Thomas Dental Manly Supports Community Northern Beaches

Geoff Thomas and his team didn't hesitate when approached by Kym from Community Northern Beaches recently for a contribution. They generously donated 10 x 1 hour dental treatments to assist our homeless and domestic violence clients who may be in urgent need of treatment on their teeth. We are incredibly grateful for this invaluable support so close to our hub, as many clients do not have the means to travel a distance for this kind of treatment, let alone the means to pay for it.

A Private Audience with His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Maria Chidzey, Manager Multicultural Services has recently returned from India where she was extremely privileged to meet with His Holiness The Dalai Llama in a private audience. She also met with the Tibetan Government in Exile to discuss ways to improve the documentation process so that entry of Tibetans into Australia will be smoother. We are very proud of the work Maria, Dhondup and the team at Community Beaches do with the local community of people who arrived into Australia seeking asylum.

For some, what happens behind closed doors is often a very different reality.

Suzanne has a beautiful house, gorgeous children going to the right schools, paid for by the charming husband who everyone likes. Their marriage is the envy of all their friends. The publicly attentive and loving husband. However, behind closed doors it is a different story….