Jacob Miller is Vice President and National Youth Representative on the National Council. The story of a 20-year-old man responding to what he witnessed in his local community, was the genesis of Jacob’s connection to the Society some 15 years ago.
As a conference member at Sacred Heart College (New Town, Tasmania) I ventured out on home visits with the Saturday ARVOS program meeting isolated elderly community members, and on Street Retreats interacting with men and women experiencing homelessness. I could see the need for an Australia transformed by compassion, and Vinnies was the vehicle I witnessed not only making that change but including young people in the work. Founded by young people, Vinnies continues to be motivated to include young people in its membership.
In 2010 I joined Southern Regional Council in Hobart, and my journey began as a leader within the Society. As an 18-year-old, I felt my opinions were equally valued and my enthusiasm was harnessed.
I have always approached my faith and the Society as almost a means to an end. I certainly believe in God (in all her glory) but like Louise and Vincent, God for me is with people, whether offering them assistance on a visit, running a buddy day, or accepting a donation from them in our stores, it is then I feel most connected to greater purpose of life.
I bring to National Council experience in working as a member and employee across Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania, being particularly involved with youth development and shops. I have a Bachelor of Theology and have also
studied education and volunteer management which have been the perfect combination in my work with National Youth Team since 2013.
Last year, I participated in National Council’s Emerging Young Leaders Program. This was a fantastic opportunity to bring my passion and experience to the next level. Studying with Australian Institute of Management and Australian Institute of Company Directors has lit a new passion in me to continue our journey of developing best practice governance and structures that support members to continue doing ‘good works’.
I am passionate about striving ‘to preserve the spirit of youth, characterised by enthusiasm, adaptability and creative imagination’ (The Rule, Part 1 | 3.5). There are many thousands of young people – educated, passionate, skilled, spiritual young people – working for the Society across the country. I hope my time with National Council can bring their stories to the fore. That we can find new and diverse conference models to respond to a diverse Australia, that we can find pathways to membership for the thousands of young people engaged through stores, soup vans, education programs and school communities; but most importantly that we stop talking about sustainable membership models, and create action to start breaking down the roadblocks that some people face in their efforts to support our mission. Continuing to grow diversity in our membership, will be our strength.
As a young, professional, gay, catholic, long-term member of the Society I look forward to continuing to respond innovatively to needs of Australia – just like those young people who gathered around Rosalie Rendu to create the Society we have today. ♦
Jacob Miller is Vice President and National Youth Representative on National Council. Professionally Jacob works as Retail Coordinator for Hobart City Mission.