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Mission Champion: Dana Pearson

Mission Champion: Dana Pearson

7 September 2018

After 35 years in the corporate world, Dana Pearson (pictured right) decided it was time for a change. She left the IT world behind in search of a career where she could give back to the community.

“I realised corporate life wasn’t for me, so I decided to study a Diploma of Community Services,” Dana says.

While completing her studies, Dana began volunteering in our Women’s House kitchen, serving breakfast and lunch to women experiencing homelessness and social disadvantage.

She is now a regular volunteer with Outlandish, a program assisting women to identify individual strengths and interests and the potential for work, study, training and volunteering.

Through different volunteer opportunities, women develop their interpersonal and work-ready skills, build personal confidence and social skills and take first steps toward independent social and economic participation.

“Outlandish goes beyond fulfilling basic needs; it builds morale and gets people actively involved in the community,” Dana says.

“We just got back from a visit to the Collingwood Children’s Farm where we picked herbs ahead of tomorrow’s organic market.

“We’ll go and plant in spring, and each week we’ll watch the herbs and veggies grow.

“When I was growing up, we had a quarter acre and the back garden stretched all the way to our back door step, so for me, it’s natural, I love it.”

Dana believes the key to the program’s success is Tif Alp, the program coordinator for Outlandish.

“When we go to the farm, she’s right there with the other women, getting involved,” Dana says.

“It creates this sense of safety and community - they feel like they’re a part of something.

“I overheard two women discussing the program: one said to the other that if it wasn’t for this, she would be at home, isolated, watching TV, doing nothing.

“Work is so important because it makes you feel useful, and provides you with a sense of accomplishment and a connection to community.

“The women are helpful to each other. There is a group mentality of compassion; a sharing of problems.”

“Suddenly they feel they are no longer alone in their issues.”

With the experience of study and volunteering under her belt, Dana has her sights set on advocacy work with women and children, though hopes to continue her volunteer work at the Mission.

“I believe I have been able to support these women in the program,” she smiles. “I think I’m good at this, it brings out the best in me.”

If you would like to get involved with Sacred Heart Mission, check out our current volunteer vacancies.

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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