Our lives are feverishly focussed on our commitments of the day, making sure we are on time for that next meeting, picking up the kids from school or simply getting home in time to put on the dinner.
And as we go about our daily grind, we are so focussed on ourselves that we fail to notice those around us, the invisible people. You know the ones, they may look a little unkempt or dishevelled, they avoid direct eye contact.
They may try to approach you for small change, or they simply sit quietly on a park bench wondering what happened to their lives to bring them here.
Those that are even more invisible are the ones you never suspect. It could be your next door neighbour who carefully hides the bruises, a child confused and untrusting as a result of a dysfunctional home life, an elderly man who lives down the road, but you’ve never seen him because he is too frightened to leave his house. We fail to see their pain, loneliness and despair.
In short I believe we are forgetting how to be part of a community
We are so focussed on all those transient things that become so important to us that we forget to pause long enough to look up from our smart phones, look around and care for each other.
And, to me at least, that is a sad indictment of our society today. I want something better.
I don’t want to be like that, I want to be a better person, I want to be a person who not only “sees” that need but actually does something to assist them.
When I was approached to accept the role of Chair of the Western Sydney Business Appeal Committee a range of thoughts catapulted through my mind; the first: “oh I don’t think I have sufficient time to devote to the role, after all I have my business DMC Advertising Group to manage”; then: “I don’t think I have the skills to lead such an important concern, surely there are others more aptly suited” and finally the best thought, the one that convinced me to accept; “here’s my chance to make a difference, to work with a dynamic team of business people and Salvos officers to effect change and encourage a sense of community responsibility into the local business community”.
So I said yes.
As a business person in Western Sydney I believe we have a responsibility to give back and support the community in which we live and work. To me that can only be described as a good investment.’’
It is so easy to sit back in our comfortable, air conditioned offices and complain about the situation expecting someone else to fix it.
I believe we are the ones who need to fix it. We need to be involved, to engage, to get our hands dirty, and open our wallets to support programs by organisations such as The Salvation Army.
Most of us know the Red Shield Appeal as that time of year when a well-meaning volunteer, or perhaps a Salvation Army officer, knocks on our door requesting a donation and we dutifully hand over a few dollars, after all “God Bless the Salvos”.
That is only part of the program. The Business Appeal Committee’s role is to work with businesses to raise much needed funds for so many amazing programs and initiatives developed, supported and managed by The Salvos.
As Chair of the Salvation Army Western Sydney Business Appeal Committee it is my role to pull together a team of business people who share a common passion, who are prepared to get out there and influence other business people to share the same focus and become involved.
Our appeal launch next year is on May 19, we are already planning a wonderful collection of highly influential speakers who will definitely draw a crowd and we hope to raise an even greater sum this year.
But more importantly during my tenure as Chair I hope to be able to increase the number of businesspeople who realise that the “social health” of their community is an issue they MUST invest in.
That it’s simply good business logic. I want the many programs available through The Salvation Army in Western Sydney to be well supported by the business community so that we can truly call ourselves a community in the truest sense of the word.
Stephanie Dale is the incoming Chair of the Salvation Army Western Sydney Business Appeal Committee. She also owns and runs the DMC Advertising Group. She can be contacted at: SDale@dmcadvertisinggroup.com.au