Citizens give to others

David SalvaireSound Telegraph
Safety Bay university student Laura Healy wants to continue charity work. Picture David Salvaire
Camera IconSafety Bay university student Laura Healy wants to continue charity work. Picture David Salvaire Credit: Picture David Salvaire

With another festive season well and truly over, Safety Bay university student Laura Healy wants to keep the giving going all year round.

Ms Healy caught the charity bug at last year’s Christmas Lunch in the Park event after working as a project officer through the University of WA’s McCusker Centre for Citizenship.

The institute has been pairing students with not-for-profit organisations to promote “active citizenship” — a concept Ms Healy said she could get behind.

“It’s definitely something I’m going to continue to do — it’s really opened the door for me and I can see how easy it is to get involved with something like that,” she said.

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Ms Healy was one of about 600 volunteers who spent part of their Christmas Day making Mission Australia WA’s CLIP event a reality.

At last year’s lunch, more than 2000 people in need from the Perth community gathered in Wellington Square, with guests going home with a full tummy and a gift from Santa.

Ms Healy was tasked with overseeing the CLIP Connect Tent, directing people who needed emergency assistance over the Christmas period to the right services.

Now in its 41st year, CLIP provides a bit of joy over Christmas but Mission Australia WA and the McCusker Centre for Citizenship want to encourage young people to give their time and energy throughout the year.

With about 250,000 West Australians living close to the poverty line, Mission Australia WA chaplain Scott Vawser said there was always a need for more volunteers.

“Active citizenship is an amazing idea and without it we wouldn’t have these events so the work that Laura and the McCusker Centre for Citizenship is doing is obviously important and we’d love to see that continue throughout the year,” he said.

For those in the community who may be apprehensive about becoming more active, Ms Healy has one piece of advice.

“Go for it,” she said.

“Before I got involved I was nervous and was wondering if I was good enough to do anything, but it’s pretty awesome when you see the difference you can make in the community.”

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