A DEEP understanding of how tough parenting can be along with a passion for supporting pregnant and parenting mums in crisis is what drives Sarah Kelly, president of Karinya House management committee.
Sarah will speak about her dedication and love of the work she does after 14 years at Karinya House at the upcoming Network of Possibility event on Tuesday night (May 1) in Yarralumla.
“When I started on the committee, I had my daughter Edwina and was pregnant with William so, as a mum, I understood just how difficult it can be having babies and young children,” Sarah says.
“A support network is so important, and we are seeing women who are vulnerable and have no one – I can’t even imagine. I just felt that we have to help these mums, here they are being so courageous doing it alone.
“I’m passionate about supporting and changing the lives of these women, the most vulnerable women in society, as a mother myself.”
Organiser Kim Vella says she’s particularly excited to hear from Sarah, to find out what has sustained her energy and passion over 14 years at Karinya House.
“So much hard work is done by women around the world and we don’t get to hear about it, what changes they’re facilitating, their vision for the future, and why they’re so passionate in pursuing their goals,” Kim says.
Sarah says working with Karinya House has defined her life in a way, and that she feels she is making a difference, not just to mums but to their children, too.
“I think it’s important to be socially aware and it sets an example to my children, too, that it’s not just about us,” she says.
“This gives me my greatest purpose, contributing to something bigger and making a difference.”
With three years as vice president and six years as president, Sarah says she’s been humbled to be involved with the creation of the new purpose-built facility in Belconnen 18 months ago that can house up to 14 women at a time.
“We’re available 24 hours a day, and can help women with life skills, pregnancy, baby, then to support them to find ways to operate independently in society,” she says.
“We hear so many stories every day, vulnerable women in crisis, domestic violence, drug abuse, no family support, financial problems, immigration issues, they could be homeless, may have a young child or be pregnant. It’s a learning curve.
“We know their stories and to hear how we’ve changed their lives, you can’t help but want to be a part of the next story.”
The Network of Possibility has been running for more than a year, with a focus on supporting local charities – Toora Women, YWCA and Karinya House – that help disadvantaged women, says founder Kim Vella.
Kim says she started the Network because she felt there was a need for a different way of networking, that was relationship-driven and authentic.
“It’s now got this life beyond me, which I love, and I’m still celebrating it,” she says.
The Network of Possibility champagne reception is on Tuesday May 1, 6pm-7.30pm. Tickets cost $55, and are available at kimvella.com.au/events
Donate to Karinya House at karinyahouse.asn.au/donate-online/