Dr Mark Ellis AM talks to Vanessa Ientile about what motivates him to support Jesuit Social Services as a Community Partner.
I come from a middle-class background and live in a comfortable suburb of Melbourne with my wife Janet. We both come from close-knit
families and we are very lucky to have two children, Madeleine and Tom, who now are in their late 20s and pursuing their own lives in family and careers.
I am an Ophthalmologist (eye specialist surgeon) working at the Hawthorn Eye Clinic since the early 90s. For the last 14 years, I have been involved in eye health provision in the less resourced countries of East Timor and as Director of the Sumba Eye Program in Eastern Indonesia. This is all voluntary work involving six monthly eye camps, particularly in the last couple of years concentrating on the Sumba Eye Program (SEP).
Through family values from my parents and my Jesuit upbringing, it has always been instilled in me that social justice is important and assisting those less well off is a basic Christian principle.
Unless you look for it, poverty is much more hidden in our society than the obvious poverty I see in my overseas work. A society should be judged on how it looks after it’s less privileged citizens. It seemed a natural consequence of my St Patrick’s College, East Melbourne and then Xavier upbringing that I should embrace Jesuit Social Services. I am impressed with the commitment and the results achieved.
Janet and myself were originally donating in sporadic intervals and being so preoccupied with my work and family, we would forget to continue the commitment to Jesuit Social Services financially. By becoming a Community Partner, I was able to be happy with the knowledge that our monthly donation would be made on time.
Being actively involved in fundraising for the SEP and when I was on school associations, I know how hard it is to constantly be asking for money just to keep afloat.
I would encourage you all not just to think about it but join now.
To join Mark Ellis AM as a Community Partner, please call us on 03 9421 7600.