Goodbye from Elizabeth, Welcome to Dave

Friday, June 29, 2018

A message from the outgoing Community Manager

 When I joined Befriend two years ago I had no idea the effect it would have on my life. I was fresh from a grueling Honours dissertation, I worked part-time for a comedy company and as a support worker. I had put no thought into what I would do post-Honours, apart from sleep for days. A friend sent me the job description for the Community Manager role and suddenly I had purpose, I knew there was no other job for mel. Whilst the interview process was terrifying, it reinforced to me that the values and approaches of the organisation  were closely aligned with my own.

 It’s hard to pinpoint my favourite part of the job, there were a number. Something I will never tire of is having conversations with people who have just found out about Befriend, who don’t know what’s available and ring/email to find out more. The relief I’ve heard from so many people, the hopefulness that they often feel when they find out how they can get involved, it has been a privilege to have those conversations.

 The people I have met through Befriend continually amaze me. The volunteers who share their passions with others, who help to make everyone feel welcome, who go above and beyond. The members who may be really nervous but determined to give things a go. Those people who come to Befriend having never made friends with someone totally different from them, but who are open and inclusive and ready to connect.

There were some days when all I would do it answer emails and be stuck behind my desk. Then the next day I would go to an event in Kwinana or Alkimos, Mundaring or Fremantle. I would talk to the amazing Hosts, I would witness members forming friendships and caring for each other, I would see members welcoming new people and sharing skills and helping each other. I can’t describe how lucky it makes me feel to see these things and to be part of this fantastic community.

 Befriend isn’t perfect, but I think it would be weird if it was. One of our values is authenticity which means to be your true self, not someone you think other people want you to be. We wouldn’t be authentic if we got things right all the time, if we didn’t make strange jokes, make mistakes, then try again. I hope Befriend continues to try new things, and continues welcoming new members and volunteers, to develop this wonderful, warm, inclusive community.

 I don’t know the new Community Manager well yet, but I am certain he is going to be a great support to the whole community. What I do know of Dave is that he is a thoughtful, warm and genuine human being, so that’s a very good start. I encourage you to give Dave a call, introduce yourself, help him get to know the Befriend community.

 Thank you to each and every person involved in Befriend. You’re doing an amazing thing, keep going.

- Elizabeth Farrant

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