December 11th, 2016
Buy signed copies of the new edition cover of Accidental Aid Worker and pair it with beautiful candles and cards for the perfect Christmas gift. Send directly to your friends around Australia or overseas! Visit the shop for more details and to order
Candle making schedule:
Freshly made candles will be dispatched 3-5 days after your order and payment is received. 3.5% will be added to your total for credit card transactions.
Funds raised from Candles for Community 2016 and Accidental Aid Worker 2016 will be contributed to projects that help children and young people in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cambodia.
1 November 2015 – a year ago today, I launched my first born book, Accidental Aid Worker, at my home, with friends. What a year it has been!
These past 12 months, I have committed myself to getting me and my story out to the world. Being self published, self employed (and not earning as a consultant), a solo woman and without a team or support. I have invested as much as I can of myself to this enormous, complex and worthy story. YES, I believe my story, experiences and messages are worthy and of value to humanity. I believe that they are important, have integrity, heart and are worthy of sharing in this way.
It has not been easy. Far, far from easy.
There have been many dips in the road and shitty happenings along the way. This has been a cleanser of a year. I have done what I wanted to do – make changes that stick. I have really sorted out where I am and who I’m with in the world moving forward. I have FOUND my voice, gained clarity and made a new commitment to my values, hold those values dear, and with absolute integrity.
To explore what it means to write and publish – I sacrificed a lot too, investing creativity, effort, drive, money and energy to:
WAS THE EFFORT WORTH IT? Will I continue to write and publish and where to from here?
One step at a time, and only time will tell. My most urgent need is to get back to the work that earns me a living as a business, marketing and communications consultant – the Chiefette of Zulu Communications and start the final season for Candles for Community – Christmas 2016 Campaign.
Accidental Aid Worker has been a blessing in my life and I hope it will continue to be embraced, educate, inspire, amuse and give people pause to consider “who am I, where am I going and what can I do?”
GIVING BACK TO COMMUNITY IN EVERYTHING I DO
When you purchase your copy of Accidental Aid Worker directly from me, you’ll receive a personalised, signed copy of the 3rd reprint edition of Accidental Aid Worker that features Tom Keneally and Professor Dame Marie Bashir’s comments on the cover. It comes with a complimentary gift card, bookmark and numbered puzzle token. $5 will be donated to a community project.
To those who have read my story: Thank you for taking the time to read, for prioritising this in your busy lives. It means a hell of a lot to me. Thank you to so many of you who have stood close and not let me fall, particularly in these last 12 months since making my life so public. It’s a test of your character as well, to stand in the eye of the storm with me. I celebrate you – and your courage to do so.
A few months shy of celebrating the 1st birthday of the release of my book, Accidental Aid Worker, was another occasion to celebrate. Legendary Australian author, Tom Keneally, and celebrated community advocate and former NSW Governor General, Professor Dame Marie Bashir both provided heartfelt words for me about my precious book. These worlds grace the cover of the new edition of Accidental Aid Worker, which is now at 3rd reprint.
Professor Bashir kindly launched the edition at an author talk at Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts on 20 September, 2016. In the company of a community of supporters and 70 keen readers, she spoke about her own experiences in Cambodia, and the power of connection and community, before providing her reflections about my story.
You can watch the video of Professor Bashir launching my book here.
Part of my brain doesn’t compute that this happened. I’m thankful for the photographic evidence and that their words are immortalised in ink on my new cover. As you can see above, Tom also signed my copy of my book.
Sue has a busy schedule of talks lined up at libraries in Sydney and regional NSW, to talk about her experiences as an volunteer community builder and aid worker over the last 12 years. These talks are free to attend and a wonderful opportunity to hear first hand, some of the stories that make Accidental Aid Worker such a rich and poignant read and experience.
NSW South Coast Tour 13 – 19 October
Christmas 2016 will be the last season for Candles for Community. What started in 2008 as a little hobby on the side, to help with awareness and fundraising has lasted for 8 years over Christmas seasons.
Over the years, I have made, gifted, sold, wrapped, packed, dispatched hundreds of candles – from my kitchen in the early days – and now in my garage/ workshop. I know that people have loved what these candles have represented, the spirit of community and giving back.
Modest amounts have been raised and donated over the years to organisations like Handup Congo, Bruno’s Community, and for many years – Sunrise Children’s Villages in Cambodia has benefited with thousands of dollars in donations. This year, the focus will still be on community projects very close to my heart and soul.
The recipient project will be announced in November – the official launch of the Candles for Community 2016 campaign.
Signed books will be available for purchase on the tour.
In my last newsletter and just before Christmas I put out a call for volunteers to help with the preparation and service of lunch on Christmas Day at Gethsemane Community in Petersham. It’s my usual Christmas Day gig – and as the year wound up, I took on the additional duties of trying to organise the volunteers for The Christmas Project. Read more and see the video to refresh your memory.
That’s the power of community, collaboration and co-operation – and Zulu’s Community.
Thank you to everyone who contributed goods, gifts, food, time, energy, attention and support to make this day run so smoothy and so well.
One of the key outcomes of this short but intense lead up to this festive season service is, that after 4 years of volunteering for Gethsemane, a very key connection was made. Vic, who has worked with Myree for 6 years with the running of Christmas Day lunch, was -dare I say, shocked and surprised that I could ‘take over’ and run things so smoothly and drama-free.
When Vic asked for my input into a community lunch that he has run for 3 years at a church in Darlinghurst, I said yes.
Each Thursday, Vic and a small team of volunteers prepare and serve fruit salad, burgers or sandwiches and coffee to around 40 homeless people. I have been volunteering most Thursdays now, and during his university break, so has Tim.
These few hours have become an important way for me to keep grounded and connected to my community. I look forward to this time and prioritise it, because it’s a tangible, practical way to serve my fellow human beings. I help feed people without any other agenda than to make a difference IN that moment.
We are a small team – from 4-7 people each week and this motley crew, called the ‘dream team’, are a really lovely bunch. It’s a small, but mighty effort – and we need more volunteers in our dream team.
CAN YOU HELP OUT ON THURSDAYS?
If you can contribute 2.5 hours on a Thursday morning, even if it’s now and then, to assist us with feeding a small segment of Sydney’s homeless community – please contact me and I’ll connect you with Vic, who will be thrilled to have you as part of the ‘dream team’.
Here’s what Monica Olander from C3 Church said about Accidental Aid Worker: Just finished reading your book Accidental Aid Worker. Thank you for sharing your journey – not just a how-to on becoming involved in community work – but a very raw, personal & honest account of your emotional, spiritual, physical & mental journey of life. Funny, tragic & inspirational all rolled into one, I admire your vulnerability, down-to-earth attitude and your courage to face both mountains and valleys, and to traverse them both. What a pleasure to get to know you further through reading your memoirs and of course, to have you on our team at our C3 Cares Community Lunch. You are greatly appreciated & I’m looking forward to Book No. 2!
People often ask me, why the hell I bother with all this community work and fundraising – tiring myself out and getting stressed out in the three months to the end of the year. BECAUSE – this is the time of year that people spend, spend, spend on Christmas, Christmas, Christmas – and it’s the time that I can use my commercial powers for good to help people in need.
It’s my fourth year as a volunteer with Gethsemane Community. I usually make 3 large, industrial sized tubs of salad for Christmas Day lunch – that takes me most of Christmas eve. On Christmas Day, I pitch up at 9:30 to help with set up and then we serve 70-80 people a terrific lunch with all the trimmings! Watch this video – it’s REAL life for many people and this is how I’ll be spending the donations raised this Christmas.
Please consider buying my book and my candles and gifts for Christmas gifts – because it’s the way I raise awareness of issues, and funds to support people in my community. Get your orders in for Accidental Aid Worker – because $5 from every book – I’m donating to charity.
In December, I’ll be helping Sr Myree and Vic by packing my car with hampers to deliver to boarding houses and also doing my usual volunteering on Christmas Day – to help really vulnerable people. If you can’t be involved on the day – I understand – but please help me help THESE intellectually disabled and homeless people who are supported by a few dedicated people have a good day.
Please share this post with your friends, co-workers and communities – people who love to read and buy candles and gifts for people they love. It will help me help others. WE need your support. Last orders are 14 December.
Just a week before the launch of Accidental Aid Worker, Sue pre-sold, personalised, signed and distributed over 111 books to friends throughout Australia and all over the world- USA, UK, Switzerland, Canada and Sri Lanka.
At the launch of the book at her home on 1 November, Sue was joined by fellow published author Greg Fisher (Inside Out), her Rabbi, Dr Rabbi Dovid Slavin from Bondi’s Our Big Kitchen, friends and supporters to celebrate the making and delivery of this epic adventure.
You can see more launch photos find out more about Sue’s book, buy the ebook and catch up on the writing and self publishing journey at the dedicated website www.accidentalaidworker.com.au and also see videos at the dedicated Facebook page for the book.
You can order your special edition memento copy which comes signed and with special gifts.