Tasmanian Times


Growing Within the Community … The Christmas Party …


… A Story of Gratitude from the Hobart Women’s Shelter …

When every news story is about fear, hate and misfortune, and every person we pass has their nose buried in a phone or tablet it might be easy for us to start to think that we live in a time of individualism and social isolation.

Working in the community sector, and reading the news, I am constantly confronted by staggering statistics on deaths due to gender-based violence, reports on terrorism, hate crimes and youth suicide and depression – and it cannot be denied that there are days when “big bad world syndrome” kicks in and the problems appear too great for the community to bear.

Every so often however it is through the kindness of a stranger, a simple act of selflessness that I am snapped back to the reality of the time we live in. Our community faces huge challenges, but we can change that.

In the 1990s when I was growing up, buses and cafes were noisy places where people were talking to one another visibly. Today, people are looking down at their electronic devices appearing to ignore one another, which, has often been perceived by older generations as a failing of the younger generations – perhaps however, we are missing something.

You see, in October of this year I put a post out over the Hobart Women’s Shelter (HWS) Facebook page requesting that individuals and community groups donate their time, and material goods to assist the HWS in providing a Christmas celebration worthy of the women and children who access our service each year.

I was overwhelmed with generous responses from people of all walks of life, individuals of every age, schools, Girl Guide Groups, social groups, men, women, families, businesses – even past clients wanting to give back to the community which once assisted them.

One young woman in particular however, I feel, deserves a special mention.

So often, the younger generations are passed over as not having the work ethic and drive of generations passed, but let me assure you that the spirit of community, hope and giving is alive and well in the hearts of the youth of Tasmania.

I received a Facebook message from Laura, a young woman living locally, asking what exactly she could do to assist with our upcoming Christmas preparations. I mentioned to her that we would love to put together some ‘party bags’ for the children attending our Christmas Party. Laura asked approximate ages and genders of children, and then proceeded to blow our minds.

Laura – using Facebook – rallied her peers to contribute donations of time and gifts to go into party bags for children of a variety of ages. In addition, she assisted me in contacting local businesses to acquire further donations for the shelter. Erik Qualman Pulitzer Prize nominated author of Socialnomics and What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube, wrote that “The power of social media is that it forces necessary change,” and I could not agree more.

One of the Hobart Women’s Shelter’s (HWS) core values is growth. We embrace change and opportunities for learning. With this in mind I would like us to consider the individual contributions of community members, and the ways in which we can reach out to one another and connect as a ‘community’ be that online (with our nose buried in our phone, not talking to people on the bus because we are busy mobilising dozens of our peers to change the world) or in person – there is no right or wrong way, as long as we as an organisation and community continue to grow in our appreciation and realisation of the beautiful contributions that we can ourselves and those around us can make into making the world a better place, where not every news story need to fill us with dread …

*Josie Young is a Community Engagement Officer; a writer, a community worker, an activist and a lover of all things chocolate and coffee related. I joined the Hobart Women’s Shelter in June 2016. I have worked in the community sector for 10 years, am a published author and have three years’ management experience. Holding a Masters of International and Community Development and Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Political Science, I am passionate about community education and creating opportunities for empowerment for vulnerable individuals and groups.

Christmas came early … Christmas came early to some of Glenorchy’s most special residents with our annual women’s and children’s Christmas Party. Attended by 50 children, and 30 women this was one of our biggest gatherings yet. Amidst laughter, water sports and a traditional Aussie BBQ Santa arrived to add some magic and gifts to the mix …

Author Credits: [show_post_categories parent="no" parentcategory="writers" show = "category" hyperlink="yes"]


  1. Robin Charles Halton

    December 14, 2016 at 12:55 am

    Editor and author have colluded!

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    December 12, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    # 11 Rossi, not guilty, had the Editor printed the first part of my #9 then you could see the entire comment.

    I agree the Herald Sun story was only secondary to what I was explaining, it does not look good as a stand alone comment! May include it in a separate TT article “The war on welfare.

    Description of persons appearance by racial features is a common description now in everyday life, haven’t you noticed Rossi!

    Editor, could you please reinstate my comment #9 it should clear the air, as I dont like smoke screens. Thanks from RCLH

  3. Rossi

    December 12, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Re #9 and #10: He’s done it again (though really who knows what #9 is about) – adding irrelevant remarks to push his own bigoted barrow and having to have the last word (mansplaining anyone?). As for “girls of Middle Eastern appearance” – this is doubly insulting to the women working at the shelter and actually doing something positive, as opposed to constant negative, empty carping.
    Other readers should also call out such comments when they see them. Now I’ll stop feeding the troll.

  4. Robin Charles Halton

    December 12, 2016 at 12:04 am

    My best guess is the Author contacted the Editor to have my comments, first of all challenged then deleted at #3 and #7.

    It actually goes to show that decadent comments are not what this generation wants to hear, pity there is no longer an open mindset within the TT auditing system.

    (challenged and deleted)

    Cheers for now from RCLH.

    Ed: It was readers, not the author …

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    December 11, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Sorry to change the subject but:

    There is an article on the front page of the Sunday Herald Sun December 11th.
    Involves polygamous marriages under Islamic law, political correctness tolerated by the Australian government who seem not to know what to do about it.

    My opinion is it is, enslaving women under the guise of beastly religious defiance the poor devils are under the spell of Sharia law, pity help them if they attended a Womens Shelter as all hell would break loose, Muslim menfolk are not known for their resilience are they!

  6. Mick Kenny

    December 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Fine work people, keep it up, one and all.

  7. Robin Charles Halton

    December 11, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Comment challenged and deleted …

  8. PHilip Lowe

    December 10, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Merry Christmas ladies,and a very Happy New Year.
    Phil Lowe.

  9. Rossi

    December 10, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Re #3 – Once again RCH has shown his true colours with a completely irrelevant and offensive remark about the appearance and presumed ethnicity of women who are doing vital work in helping to protect women and children who have been hurt by family violence – which is a manifestation of superseded male attitudes. I was tempted to ignore his comment as usual but really feel it cannot go unchallenged, lest it be taken as acceptable. Not even funny – just sad.

    Congratulations to the Hobart Women’s Shelter and their supporters for doing what’s needed to change the world as we know it.

  10. Alison Bleaney

    December 10, 2016 at 10:50 am

    Thank you for caring….and sharing….❤️

  11. Robin Charles Halton

    December 10, 2016 at 2:44 am

    Comment challenged and deleted

  12. Carole

    December 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    so often we think we have to help by donating money. Heres something EVERYONE can do according to their situation. These women have done it tough. God bless

  13. Tessa anne

    December 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for sharing this story Josie!

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