Colleen's trying to make the world a better place

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence November 25 - December 10 2016

Colleen Moten believes in using the money she has and the good people she knows to try and make the world a better place. She was one of three women who gathered last year and brainstormed ways of getting a giving circle off the ground. The Catherine Circle, a group of people who are passionate about supporting McAuley Community Services for Women and its works with women, who are homeless, as well as women and children experiencing family violence, was born. Each member, or group, contributes $1000 a year for at least three years.

Colleen said that rather than fund a Catherine Circle membership on her own, she decided to canvass the idea amongst a group of women, mostly networks developed through her daughter’s school, Ruyton Girls’ School.

Her ‘recruiting’ paid off and she has two groups of five women now contributing to the Catherine Circle and engaged in the issues around family violence in the community.

“I thought it was important to get more women involved in the issue and actively working to make a difference. We now have 10 new women working on this issue and it’s important to keep creating awareness and expanding the support base for McAuley Community Services for Women,” Colleen said.

“My hope is that each of these women will eventually go out and encourage another 10 people to become involved.”

Catherine Circle members recently gathered to vote on two projects that were up for funding. Members voted for the safe@home project, which is examining what is needed to make a home safe for a woman and child to return to after abuse. The project will have a significant impact for the women using McAuley Community Services for Women safe house and refuges and the sector as a whole.

Fortunately, an anonymous donor on the night agreed to fund the second project, which will help women who are homeless become financially independent through employment.

Each year there will be an annual gathering of the Catherine Circle where McAuley Community Services for Women will introduce two high priority projects, which require funding. Catherine Circle members will vote by ballot for one of the projects. The project with the highest votes will be supported for the year.

Colleen is delighted with the projects being funded and believes the Catherine Circle method of funding particular projects appeals to people who want to know what is happening to their donations. She is also committed to supporting women who are homeless, or escaping family violence, in the most effective way she can.

Colleen’s work on the Catherine Circle has not only led to many other women becoming involved with McAuley Community Services for Women, it also inspired her daughter, Aisling, to become involved. Last year, Aisling, who has just completed Year 11, raised money by inviting girls to a sleepover at her house. Instead of the comfort of a bed the girls all slept on the floor, ate sparingly and welcomed a talk by McAuley Community Services for Women’s communications consultant Penny Underwood who spoke about homelessness and sleeping rough.

“I hope I am a role model for my daughter, showing her that there are ways of standing up for things you believe in and of speaking out about something that needs to change. And what underpins everything is respect for each other, males and females,” Colleen said.

28 November 2016