A new group of volunteers recently completed the Caring Mums training. For the first time, training was shifted mid-way; from face-to-face to Zoom. Nonetheless, the volunteers felt connected and developed strong bonds with each other.
One of our new volunteers, Leeora, shares her meaningful experience.
"As my life returns to its previous rhythm, I am already feeling the sting of losing twelve animated faces on my screen. Two weeks into our program, just enough time to establish my preferred seat in the room, our training and many other details that fill out a day, came to a halt. I was feeling deflated. I had waited some time for a vacancy in my life to join Caring Mums. The timing of this training could not have been better suited, wedged between completing my studies and ending a few days before a planned family trip, it all seemed to be stacking neatly.
When COVID-19 arrived on our shores, there was a suggestion of our program going online, but how would this translate? Our training while instructional was also inclusive and dynamic, it needed our bodies in the room. I admit, I had previously been the first to sneer at those professing the good times they had with friends on Zoom. An online platform seemed inimical to forging genuine connection and group conversation. After a trial conversation on Zoom the group decided to try to meet online. Emerging needs for new mums in lockdown was becoming known, we just needed to adapt and move swiftly with this sweep of change.
Fast forward two months and my cursor lingers on the leave conversation button. Yes, there were hitches, but no more than I have experienced in a conventional meeting. I suspect it was more than the urgent call to support mums in this new reality that made my virtual training succeed. I felt held by an excellent coordinator whose empathy even seeped through the screen. I was part of group of volunteers brave enough to have their role play be critiqued online. We showed up, despite our digital hesitancy and connected. The learnings from this training are still surfacing. My main take away from this time with Caring Mums is that even in this time of narrowing in, I am sitting with this this feeling of possibility and connection."
X Leeora, New Caring Mums Volunteer
Bringing a baby into the family is exciting but can also present challenges. Now, with COVID-19 restrictions, feelings of isolation, loneliness, disappointment and grief may be popping up. Earlier this week, Caring Mums Coordinator Michelle Kornberg was a guest at the “Glen Eira Working Together” program on J-Air 87.8FM. Michelle discussed the challenges new mums are facing during current times. Listen to the podcast https://bit.ly/2Vcb2FE.
Caring Mums is welcoming new mothers to the program. As part of the program, a trained volunteer will be there weekly to provide the mum with emotional support. No mother should feel alone on her journey of motherhood – even with COVID-19.
If you are someone, or you know of someone, who could benefit from joining the Caring Mums Program – please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Communication is the key to our connections, our relationships. Quality communication is what we should be striving for. For some this skill comes naturally, others have to work hard at it.
Challenging times can impact our use of this important skill, yet it is at precisely these challenging times, that good quality communication is needed most. But what defines quality communication?
Birgit Ohlin explains in detail in her informative and enlightening article entitled Active Listening: The Art of Empathetic Conversation.
It may sound obvious, but paying attention is first and foremost; doing our best to avoid being distracted, to being present in the moment. The speaker should feel that we are interested in what they are saying. More than this, it is a conscious effort to focus on the speaker, to hear not only the words but the complete message that the person is conveying. Interestingly, body language, eye contact and facial expressions all play a part in sending the message that you value the person talking and are interested in what they are saying.
Allow the speaker the space to speak; interrupting can prove frustrating to them. Checking you got the right message can be a useful way of clarifying your understanding. Remember that when we are communicating with someone important to us, what they have to say IS important for us to hear, to gain information and perspective. In return, the speaker feels respected, understood and valued.
When we communicate well we experience the power of being heard; the power of feeling connected. THIS is the power we aim to share and grow as a member of the Caring Mums community. The Caring Mums program specifically trains volunteers in active listening skills. These are skills that apply to our personal life as well. Using them on my teenage daughters however, is a struggle at times, and is likely to require many, many more years of practice. The idea is that, by working on improving our communication skills, those around us will feel heard and our relationships will benefit.
The Caring Mums program challenges us, encourages us. We in turn challenge and encourage you to give it a go; practice on loved ones and friends; face to face, in real life and on Facetime or Zoom. Putting a little extra effort towards our communication, at a time when we are all feeling somewhat isolated or alone, may unlock the power of being heard. We can all take more responsibility in growing the village of support around us and building the greater sense of connection many of us crave.
xx Danielle, Caring Mums Volunteer
Take a look at this short clip where Amy and Sheldon show us the power of being heard ….x
Calls for expression of interest – The Jam Project evaluation. The purpose of the evaluation is to provide an independent assessment of our project. It is anticipated that the findings of the evaluation will inform decisions about strategies to improve the reach, expansion and application of the program. We are seeking a preliminary project plan and budget for the evaluation.
For more information please refer to the Evaluation Brief.
The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia Victoria Section (NCJWA Vic) is calling for expressions of interest from women interested in joining our Board.
We would particularly welcome applications from candidates with experience in fundraising, social justice, women’s issues or program development.
There are a number of positions available due to retirements.
For further information or to submit an expression of interest, please contact Secretary Helen Lewin by email email@example.com. Expressions of interest must be received no later than Monday 29th June 2020.
* Position Description *
In honour of Sylvia Gelman z”l AM MBE for her lifelong commitment to education, women’s issues and the Jewish community, NCJWA Vic presents an annual award to recognise and encourage women with outstanding achievements in any area of Jewish education.
The Award will be presented at our AGM in August. Nominations are due by 17 July 2020. Nomination Form (Word) / Nomination Form (PDF).
Through the Committee, you'll support NCJWA Vic's vision of powering women and girls for a better world. We achieve this through community advocacy, events and public awareness campaigns.
Our #MakeSpaceForHer campaign aims to ensure Jewish women in Victoria are equally represented in leadership positions within our community and participate equally in community events.
The work of the Advocacy Committee inspires much interest in the work of NCJWA Vic and excitingly, we are now recruiting for 2020!
We anticipate a weekly commitment of around 2-3 hours plus preparation and attendance at meetings, which are held 6-7 times throughout the year.
If you share our passion for gender equality, community advocacy and have initiative, communication and administration skills to support our community wide gender equality campaign, please get in touch and email a short expression of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org by COB 3 July 2020.
The National Council of Jewish Women of Australia (Vic) welcomes the Israeli District Court’s momentous decision this week that Malka Leifer is mentally fit to face extradition proceedings. Leifer has been charged in Victoria with 74 counts of child abuse.
Leifer, the former principal of Melbourne’s Adass Israel school, fled to Israel in 2008 after allegations were made against her. Protracted legal proceedings and evasion of an extradition hearing based on Leifer’s mental state has so far denied her accusers access to justice and closure of their painful experiences.
This decision marks an important milestone in the case against Leifer. We hope that the judicial proceedings against her continue without any further unnecessary delays. NCJWA Vic has proudly supported Dassi Erlich in her campaign to #bringleiferback and urge that Leifer be extradited to Australia to face the charges against her as a matter of urgency.
With just under 80 participants in the 3 years the Jam Project has been running, we have reached out to our past cohort. How are they travelling now? What have they gained from being part of the program? Here are their stories:
Mia was a Participant in 2018. Did she maintain contact with her match? What is she doing to get through this difficult time?
Bianca was a Buddy in 2019. What was her favourite session? What would she say to the current cohort?
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