Spring 2017

A National Council perspective

Pat Garcia: Vice President and Bailly, St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia

How did you first become involved with the Society?

I was originally employed as a children’s officer for the Society in Sydney. I ran Mini Vinnies in schools and buddies days for the children staying at our refuges.

As Vice President on the National Council, how do you see the Society’s role in the region evolving?

I would love to see its role as a regional social justice advocate grow. I would like the Society to speak truth to power— wherever that that may be.

What are you most proud of about the Society?

I love the fact that the Society’s members and volunteers get to see the impact of their work. I love the fact that we still believe that the little things matter—that our actions don’t need to be measurable to have impact. I’m proud that we are a living embodiment of the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable.

Do you think members from small towns and centres will have something different to contribute to the National Congress 2017 compared to their city counterparts? If so, why?

I think conferences, whether they’re in the city or in the regions, are wonderful because they’re authentically local. Conferences are able to respond to their communities in unique ways because they are part of the communities themselves. What I think we need to realise, though, is that not all communities are geographically based these days and the Society needs to adapt to permit conferences that service communities in need wherever that may be.

Will this be your first trip to South Australia?

No, I’ve been to South Australia a number of times. Adelaide is one of my favourite cities.


Celina Lai: Vice President Twinning, St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia

How did you first become involved with the Society?

I was invited to a meeting by a new friend I made at church. I had moved to a new town within the previous 12 months, but found it difficult to make new friends. Meeting Vinnies’ members was fantastic—I’ve been here for 12 years now and my oldest and closest friends are from that first group!

What are you most proud of about the Society?

It is led by lay people and welcomes all people who wish to volunteer.

Do you think members from small towns and centres will have something different to contribute to the National Congress 2017 compared to their city counterparts? If so, why?

We need to understand how assistance is given in smaller communities and how to recruit and retain volunteers in smaller towns.

Tags
Show More

Related Articles

Check Also

Close
Back to top button