Tuesdays have come to be my favourite day of the week here. A journey that has been a year in the making.
A year ago this month, I was applying to schools all over Australia, putting my faith into Sydney and Melbourne. I had finally decided to dedicate myself to my creativity and skills, to pay attention to what everyone else had always told me to pursue: writing.
…and I was scared out of my mind.
I didn’t want to tell anyone because I was fearful of what they would say. I didn’t want to tell my family most of all, because I knew that would be the nail on the coffin of the “Leah has officially gone crazy” campaign. Australia, of all places! Maybe they were right, but I wasn’t about to admit it!! I kept my fears and my dreams to myself, locked in a nice little box with a purple bow, while I anxiously awaited an acceptance letter. Continuing my travels around Europe, October first brought Lyon, visiting an old housemate. Then in Copenhagen, I fell in love with the Danish autumn. I had plenty to think about and not enough time to articulate it.
I remember the moment that I knew that I had made the right decision to go into PR and Communications, knew that it was time to take the purple ribbon off of the box. It was in fact the reception of this article. I wrote about a subject matter that tends to ruffle feathers. The “I’m not like that!” or the “Go back to where you came from!” crowds could have had a hay day with me if I had written even just slightly off course.
Since I was a child, my family has always encouraged me, but especially in two things: to write, and to help those who have less than myself. Why donate blood? You’re saving up to seven lives. Why buy Christmas presents for strangers? Because we’re so lucky as to have many. Why flip pancakes on Easter Sunday? So that we can raise enough money to go to summer camp and learn about love and nature. This has always been my impulse, my instinct, so when I asked a local charity here if I could please intern with them, I was so thankful that they said “yes.”
That charity was OzChild, a local, Victoria-based foster care provider. A group assignment in Semester One led me to them. We had to pick a local NPO and create a mock PR plan for them. Our enthusiastic and overachieving group realized the need for a real media kit and created some key messages and objectives surrounding an actual event. We aimed to create positive media attention and wanted to ensure that this could benefit OzChild beyond our theory-heavy research. Long story short, I started on a Tuesday.
Every Tuesday, I have had the opportunity to have responsibility for projects and learn in such a passionate environment. The work I do there every Tuesday is miniscule to the work they do every day of the week. I have helped lead the largest fundraising campaign to-date with them, a project that nobody but my manager and myself believed in, and we’re not even done with the campaign yet! (We are raising a whopping $96,000 for the organisation, if you feel so inspired to give from afar).
Ozchild has provided me with the chance to grow in my skills and experience with a fantastic and incredibly talented group of communications practitioners. My university has fostered immense feedback and support, and come November, a poem of mine will be published, thanks to OpenAccess, how cool is that? No matter where my degree takes me when I am done, I will always be thankful for the opportunity that this organisation and leap of faith has given me, to be able to pursue my two greatest loves: words, and helping others.