We proudly welcomed 400 people to the MCG’s Members Dining Room on Saturday night for our annual fundraising dinner. Guests enjoyed a night of fine food, speeches, entertainment and an engaging Frank Costigan Address by the Honourable Justice Lex Lasry.
Justice Lasry spoke about social justice, ethics and the “extraordinarily challenging” work being done by Jesuit Social Services board member Julian McMahon and his colleagues who are trying to save Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran from the death penalty in Bali.
Guests also received an insight into our work in the training and employment sector through a speech from Ignite café participant Keegan, who is now employed at our social enterprise café The Green at St Columbs.
Keegan discussed the difficulties he had faced finding work before becoming involved in the program last year.
“I had anxiety issues, self-confidence issues, I had little to no social skills. It was to the point where I was scared to pick up the phone and call about a job or even to order food or go shopping by myself,” he said.
Through the Ignite program, Keegan is working learning new skills, working towards a Certificate IV in Hospitality and Front Line Management and is more confident both professionally and personally.
“I can make conversation with strangers, call and ask questions from potential employers and go shopping by myself. This program has not just helped give me experience in a café working environment, but has also given me a chance to live a normal life”.
Guests then had an opportunity to bid on pledges to assist jobseekers like Keegan. We were overwhelmed with the generosity shown, which will allow us to transfer 12 more lives.
Live auction items included a weekend getaway for eight people at the Mt Sturgeon Homestead courtesy of Dunkeld’s three-hatted Royal Mail Hotel and a signed, framed copy of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s famous misogyny speech.
We thank all our donors, supporters and speakers for helping to make the event so memorable.