To Stephen; one of NYC’s many homeless people

to stephen

Written by Helen McWilliam

I didn’t know Stephen’s name until after he had died.  He always sat on the chairs near the Elephant Playground on the UWS of Manhattan.  We walked past him often as it is a favourite playground of my children.  I think I noticed him because he always looked so sad and I was struck by how young he was. I often thought about bringing him food, giving him money but I never made the time to do it.  Next time, I’ll bring him a sandwich.  Next time I’ll bring him a coffee.  I was so shocked when I saw a sign on the seat where he always sat, asking if anyone had any more information about who he was, because he had died.  It seemed many people had noticed the sad, young man on the park bench and didn’t want him to die anonymously.

 

Homeless people are a much rarer sight in Australia than they are in New York City.   I am a social worker so I am aware of the support and services available to homeless people in Australia.  To try and make myself feel better about having done nothing for Stephen, I wanted to see what I could have done for him.  After my internet search and without getting too bogged down in the depressing details, it is a huge issue for the city. Homelessness is at its highest level since the Great Depression. It doesn’t just affect the men and women you regularly see but many families as well.

 

Through my research I was hoping to find out what organisations recommended people do when they see homeless people on the street.  Obviously call 911 if you are seriously worried about a person sleeping rough and you think it’s a medical emergency.  In extreme weather you can call 311 if you’re concerned about someone and the responsible organisation is required to act quickly to check on the welfare of that person.

 

From what I read, organisations don’t actively encourage giving money or food/water to homeless people.  It won’t change their life however it may make their day easier.   I also discovered lots of amazing work being done by organisations in New York to support the city’s homeless population.    There’s outreach programs, food programs, crisis service and advocacy, to name a few.  Coincidently AWNY’s chosen charity this year ‘The Dwelling Place’ is one such organisation.  It is a transitional residence for homeless women, which works hard to maintain the dignity of the women and supports their transition back into the community.  Keep an eye on the AWNY website and AWNY updates as there’ll be volunteering opportunities for this charity later in the year.

 

The homeless situation in NYC will not be solved any time soon but in honour of Stephen, I now make an effort to give food or money to people when I feel I should. I know it won’t change their lives but a little kindness goes a long way. I now also make a regular donation to a charity I believe does worthwhile work which does make a difference in the long term.

 

If you’re interested, here are some links to some of the websites I found useful and interesting:

 

If you don’t want to give money, the Coalition for the Homeless has some really good information on their website, including a help card to print out and give to people begging so they know where to go for help.

 

AWNY Online Art Auction – extended to February 22, 2017 – Buy Aussie Art and Raise Funds for The Dwelling Place Charity

This year we have two very special Australian artists donating their work for auction to raise money for the 2016/7 AWNY charity The Dwelling Place, a transitional residence for women experiencing homelessness in New York City. All proceeds from this online art auction will be donated to The Dwelling Place.

There are two paintings on offer – “Rainbow Lorikeet” by Jacinta Stewart and “Lime Kiln Bay” by Trish Callaghan. You have from now to Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at midnight EST (New York time) to place your bid.

International shipping is included and residents of any country are encouraged to bid.

How to bid:

Bids are made in the comments section of the Facebook event page and must indicate bidding amount, and the painting being bidded on – “Rainbow Lorikeet” or “Lime Kiln Bay”. Please disregard the end date on the Facebook event page – the auction will end at midnight on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

AWNY online art auction Facebook event page

About the artists:

Jacinta Stewart

Jacinta is an Australian artist from Brisbane who has made New York her home for the past 12 years. During the last decade her works reflects her nostalgia for, and love of, her homeland. Her most recent series include “Australian Seascapes” – a study of the effect of light on water at different times of the day, inspired by the memory of childhood vacations of the Aussie shoreline; “Ancient Land” which includes representational and abstract pieces inspired by her first trip to the heart of Australia – Uluru – in 2015; and the current “Australian Birdlife” series, celebrating the amazing chorus of birdsong at dawn and dusk that sweeps her off her feet each and every time she ventures home.

The painting featured in this auction pictured below, is “Rainbow Lorikeet” (11″x14″ acrylic on birchwood). The winning bidder may choose this piece or commission his or her own favorite bird (11″x14”).

rainbowlorikeet

 

Trish Callaghan

Trish is a Sydney based abstract artist who studied at UNSQ (COFA) College of Fine Arts, graduating in 2000. Her inspiration comes from the everyday – the unique Australian bushland around her home, everyday objects and images, experiences and unconscious imagery. “I’m drawn to working experimentally and love the fresh results and new experiences gained from this approach. When I’m painting I’m truly living in the moment. This painting began by instinctive marks made on the canvas. For me this is a way of transcribing the imagery of my unconscious mind as well as defining a starting point for many of my paintings. From those initial marks, this painting has evolved through a process of contemplation, through adding and removing layers of paint, and by engaging my artistic sensibilities in order to discover the essence of the work, the integrity, the drama, the aesthetic”.

The winner of the auction may choose this piece pictured below “Lime Kiln Bay” (20″x20” oil on quality canvas stretcher) or commission a different 20″x20″ piece by Trish Callaghan.

trishcallaghan_limekilnbay

Auction Rules of Play

You are bidding separately for one of two paintings “Rainbow Lorikeet” by Jacinta Stewart or “Lime Kiln Bay” by Trish Callaghan. You are most welcome to bid on both paintings but please make each bid separately.

The highest bid for each painting at the close of the auction has purchased the painting and will need to make payment to the American Australian Association with a credit card via phone or email. We will provide further payment details to the winning bidders. Remember that all proceeds go directly to our chosen charity for the year – The Dwelling Place – a transitional residence for women on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

International shipping is included and residents of any country are encouraged to bid. 

Bids are made in the comments section of the Facebook event page and must indicate bidding amount, and the painting being bidded on – “Rainbow Lorikeet” or “Lime Kiln Bay”. Please disregard the end date on the Facebook event page – the auction will end at midnight on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.

Bid here: AWNY online art auction Facebook event page

You may use the comments to ask questions of the artists or AWNY.

Good luck and thanks for participating to raise funds for The Dwelling Place!

Event: Fall Gala for The Dwelling Place of NY, October 20, 2016

Join AWNY in supporting The Dwelling Place of NY, AWNY’s chosen charity for 2016, at its annual Fall Gala. With our tables decked out in Australiana, the night promises to be a whole lot of fun for a wonderful cause. Read on below for details and to learn more about The Dwelling Place.

 

Event details

Date: Thursday, October 20, 2016
Time: 6.00pm – 9.00pm
Location: Saints Cyril and Methodius Hall, corner of 41st Street and 10th Avenue, New York
Cost: $100 per person, 100% of which will go directly to The Dwelling Place, plus a $6 booking fee through Eventbrite
Nature of event: The Gala will be a simple church hall style gathering, with everything from decorations and raffle prizes to food and wine donated
RSVP: We’ve set up a two-step process to ensure you are part of a guaranteed table before you are asked to pay any money:

  • First, make an ‘AWNY Table’ RVSP via the form below to reserve a spot at one of our tables. If you are coming with a partner or group of people you’d like to sit with, please include the name of all people in the comments area.
  • Then, we will let you know when we have the required 10 people to make up a table and invite you to buy your ticket on Eventbrite

 

AWNY’s 2016 Charity: The Dwelling Place of NY

AWNY’s chosen charity for 2016 is The Dwelling Place of NY: a privately funded transitional residence for homeless women run by The Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY. Located in Midtown, The Dwelling Place has provided shelter, sustenance and support to thousands of women since 1977. Their safe, healing, and structured environment offers women the space and time to develop a sustainable plan for building a healthy, independent lifestyle.

This year’s Gala is dedicated to the memory of Sister Margaret Boyle, beloved by the Dwelling Place community, who recently passed away.

Visit the website to read more about their wonderful work: http://thedwellingplaceofny.org/.

$415 raised for The Dwelling Place at the AWNY Picnic in the Park

What happens when a group of Aussie families and friends gather in one spot for a picnic in Central Park?…a lot of fun is what!

New York greeted us on Sunday June 26, 2016 with picture perfect weather which, in turn, meant a fabulous turn out at Norman’s Landscape @86th St .

While we nibbled on delicious lamingtons, played tunnel ball and got our faces painted the option was presented to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a selection of donated prizes.

Proceeds from this raffle support AWNY and our Charity of choice for 2016 -The Dwelling Place- a shelter for homeless women on the Upper Westside. Visit their website and check out their great work: www.thedwellingplaceofny.org. We are very pleased to announce that the generous Aussie spirit raised $415 for The Dwelling Place.

Well done one and all for joining in the festivities of the day while raising funds for such a great cause!

Check out the pics from the day on our Facebook page.

Many thanks to our prize donors:

And also to Elissa Burke for donating the lamingtons and organizing the ball games.

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AWNY Event: Beautiful You, July 14

Embrace Your Beautiful and help Sanctuary for Families

We all know how to apply our own make up… we think. But have you ever walked into a department store (or even Duane Reade around here!) and been overwhelmed by the number of colors, brushes, powders, crèmes, shimmers, shades, liquids, pencils and crayons or been puzzled by strategically bronzed, highly contoured, J-Lo glowing skin on pictures in magazines and wondered where to start?

You’re invited to find the answers at AWNY’s “Beautiful You” Make Up event with Alcone Professional Makeup Company Creative Director and New York Fashion Week Key Artist, Jacob Hyzer.

Upon arrival you’ll be served bubbly and nibbles, then take a seat to watch expert make-up techniques on skin care, luminous summer skin, natural contouring, and color application.

Following the class, the team of Alcone Professional make-up will be happy to answer your questions about applying make-up and provide consultation and advice on products.

Your attendance at this event will help the wonderful team at Sanctuary for Families, a New York based charity dedicated to aiding victims of domestic violence. In addition to the small catering charge ($14 members, $19 non-members), we kindly ask that you bring a pre-loved item of business attire (e.g. gently worn shirt, skirt, suit, pumps) or unopened toiletry items (e.g. shampoo/conditioner, feminine hygiene products, brushes/combs, body wash, deodorant). These items will help women who have left domestic violence situations as they rebuild their lives.

Event essentials:
When: Tuesday, July 14th, 6:30pm (for a 7pm start) – 8:30pm
Where: Australian Consulate, Monash Room – 150 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017
Why: Learn make-up skills and benefit Sanctuary for Families
Cost: $14 AWNY members/$19 non-members. Purchase tickets here