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Mission Champion: Anies Suzukawa

Mission Champion: Anies Suzukawa

6 September 2018

Anies Suzukawa (pictured right) tugs on the string to signal her arrival at Women’s House. A support worker strolls to the door with a big smile, ‘That’s Anies’.

The door opens to a woman balancing an enormous box of ceramics on her knee; some finished and glazed, others waiting a coat of paint.

This is Anies’ Tuesday morning routine, and has been for 16 years now. Like most things in her life, it has grown organically from her passion to bring people together.

Anies first came to Sacred Heart Mission 17 years ago when she joined her son on a school excursion to the Dining Hall.

Anies was moved by the people who attended the Dining Hall and continued volunteering with the breakfast team, but after a while was searching for another way to contribute. The Volunteer Coordinator at the time offered volunteer work providing foot massages to the residents at Sacred Heart Community.

“I wanted to be good, but not that good,” Anies laughs.

So instead, 16 years ago, she rummaged through her makeshift artist studio in her garage, packed all of her ceramics and paints into a box, and showed up at Women’s House, ready to teach.

As the years went on, the ceramics classes became a weekly routine. Every Tuesday, she would donate all of her materials and time to the clients at Women’s House. They would sit together, paint ceramics, and slowly start to engage in conversation.

“It’s just a place to switch off. As soon as you start doing it, everything else just melts away,” Anies explains.

Anies feels her time at Women’s House has kept her grounded and grateful. She recalls a conversation she had with one of the women in her class who spoke about the aggression she experienced at home, and was grateful for the peace she found at the Women’s House.

“It taught me a big lesson. I realise just how sheltered I am, and how fortunate I am; it drives me to give back more.”

Women’s House is a welcoming, safe and supportive open house tailored to the needs of women who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.

Women who access the house may be socially isolated, in crisis or experiencing housing difficulties due to a range of life experiences. Sacred Heart Mission provides women with case management support, as well as offering structured wellbeing and personal skills development group activities two to three afternoons every week.

If you would like to volunteer at Women’s House or any of our other services, find out more about our volunteering opportunities here or call (03) 9537 0042.

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Sacred Heart Mission respectfully acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we operate our services. We pay our respects to the ongoing living cultures of Aboriginal peoples, and to Elders past, present and future.
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