Red Shield Appeal launches in Brisbane
BY CLIFF WORTHING
The audience gave a standing ovation to Destiny Alberts, testimonial speaker at this year’s Brisbane Red Shield Appeal launch on 12 May.
“Life can get tough but know there are opportunities,” Destiny said. “I have big ambitions for a young black woman.”
After outlining her childhood struggles in her Cherbourg community, raising siblings, battling drug and alcohol addictions, the effects of intergenerational trauma, and then deciding to leave her community as a teenager to change her situation, Destiny shared that she had ended up in Brisbane. Destiny is part of Kullilli Nation.
“I couldn’t see any positive end in sight for my circumstances, and I was reluctant to engage with services because they all seemed to give up on me,” Destiny said. However, she accepted a referral to the Salvos, worked with Jocelyn, a social worker for about two years and now feels like she has overcome many of her obstacles.
“My social worker created opportunities for me and my family and never gave up on me, even when I shut down,” Destiny said. “I’m now free from fear, debt-free, and free to make my own choices.”
As well as Destiny’s testimonial, the morning breakfast launch featured a Q&A session with an expert panel comprised of Commissioner Miriam Gluyas, Australia’s Territorial Commander; Adrian Schrinner, Brisbane Lord Mayor; and Ben Marcus, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Queensland Police Service.
Australian journalist and media commentator, Madonna King, moderated the panel.
The panel shared the current challenges of homelessness, the need for collaboration across all government and non-government sectors, and potential solutions to homelessness.
Miriam shared some stories of people the Salvos were engaged with, and emphasised the new cohort of at-risk populations who had never struggled before and didn’t know how to navigate the welfare support system. “We need to think creatively about what we can do, and how we can lead the way,” Miriam said. “We need to respond to people’s stories and give them a go, with partnerships as a key.”
Ben challenged everyone to not just focus on anti-social behaviour but create a pro-social environment in which those struggling are positively engaged, and community services create activities and possibilities that provide alternatives to the daily struggle.
Major Gavin Watts, Queensland Divisional Commander, presented the Queensland Others Award to Bruce Humphrys, Managing Partner, HopwoodGanim Lawyers, for their many years of charity work on behalf of The Salvation Army, as well as leadership in the Brisbane business community. In commenting on what motivated him to be involved, Bruce said, “My father told me the only fair-dinkum ones were the Salvos.”
Gavin stated in his opening remarks that seeing the assembled group “was a humbling reminder that so many Queenslanders want to help those doing it tough”.
In her closing remarks, Colonel Winsome Merrett, Chief Secretary, Australia Territory, said “We are committed to walking alongside people, and to lives transformed. It is comforting to know you have our backs.”
Simon Gregory, Public Relations Secretary Queensland, said that “This year’s Brisbane Red Shield Appeal Breakfast was a great success with close to 500 attending and nearly $400,000 being donated on the morning.
“It was fantastic to see 50 full tables of donors and supporters, who were treated to an interesting and moving morning focused on the plight of everyday Queenslanders who have been so heavily impacted by the affordable housing shortage and cost-of-living crisis.”