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Bee’s story opens eyes to Aussie hardship


Testimonial speaker Bee, who was assisted by The Salvation Army as a young adult, shared her story at the Sydney Red Shield Appeal launch.

BY LAUREN MARTIN

 

It’s not a usual day in the office when you find yourself shedding a few silent tears over lunch in the ballroom of a five-star hotel. But that was the reality for many of the 430 guests of the Sydney Red Shield Appeal launch when they heard the raw, beautiful story of a woman assisted by the Salvos.

 

The event brought home the reality of financial hardship and household dysfunction that too many Australian children grow up in and how the Salvos offer a range of wrap-around services to assist and journey with people to a brighter future.

 

The launch on Friday 17 May was attended by businesspeople, supporters and dignitaries, including the honourable Mark Buttigieg MLC, media personalities Natalie Barr and Joe Hilderbrand, and singer and Salvos ambassador Samantha Jade.

 

Guests heard about the growing need among Australians struggling to make ends meet – and the impact that hardship has on all aspects of people’s lives.

 

Testimonial speaker Bee Orsini told those gathered that her limited memories of childhood included moving around a lot, having very little to eat and growing up with a mother who, in hindsight, slept and drank a lot because she was incredibly lonely and depressed. 


On her healing journey, Bee said the Salvos offered her consistency, accountability and love.

“It wasn’t the lack of money, presents or a washing machine,” she said, “It’s what the absence of these things said about our lives: that we were worthless, added no value to the world, and that no one cared about us.”

 

Eventually, Bee left home as a teen because she didn’t feel safe there, ironically moving into situations that she would later realise were even more unsafe. After a tumultuous few years, while experiencing homelessness and couch surfing, a friend told her about The Salvation Army. Bee reached out and began a long-term journey of healing, with the Salvos alongside her every step of the way.


Territorial Commander Commissioner Miriam Gluyas with one of the hosts, TV presenter Natalie Barr.

“What are three things from my time at Oasis [The Salvation Army’s Oasis Youth Support Network] that helped me to heal? Consistency, accountability and love,” she said.

 

 “When we think of these big, complex challenges like homelessness or the cost-of-living crisis, we often think of the big solutions or changes at a systemic or institutional level. This is different from walking alongside someone to directly transform their life.


“While it’s not one or the other, my hope is that when you hear my story, you recognise the profound impact of investing in one life at a time – no matter how long it takes. The thing is, though, there are very few organisations or initiatives prepared to journey alongside people in this way for the long haul. But the Salvos are!”

 

Bee, who now works for The Salvation Army as a Financial Inclusion Project Officer, encouraged those gathered to give generously to this year’s Red Shield Appeal. The response was overwhelming, with more than $850,000 pledged on the day.


Singer Samantha Jade performs at the Sydney Red Shield Appeal launch.

 

 

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