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Celebrating milestones - just do it.

07 March 2011

I'm a firm believer in celebrations. Perhaps it's the lack of other ritual in my life or maybe that my family has always done it.

I see a wooden trestle table festively covered by a cloth embroidered with dark red cherries, the cut glass sparkling, the gleam of the cutlery I'd helped my mother polish, and - having been finally bribed into bed with the promise of cake for breakfast - falling asleep to the murmur and laughter on the other side of the wall.

Well there you have it. A crystal clear memory from more than half a century ago that includes the off-the-shoulder smokey-grey wool jersey dress my mother wore.

And so I do it too. Every birthday and anniversary is an occasion to be marked.

When we realised that July 2010 would be the 5th Anniversary of the opening of the Fitted for Work service, my co-founder Marion Webster and I immediately said, \"Let's have a party.\" It's been a tough year and we wanted something that would make everyone - volunteers, staff, referral agencies, clients, donors, supporters and everyone involved with Fitted for Work - feel good!

Time to celebrate our achievements.

At first we were thinking children's party theme to go with turning five. But our CEO, Jane Hunt, pointed out there is nothing child-like about Fitted for Work. We are a fully-fledged national service, with hundreds of volunteers, and have assisted more than 4000 women with outfits of clothing, and interview and presentation skills that boost their self confidence as they move towards getting jobs and becoming financially independent.

What a great night! Such a buzz, so much joy and goodwill flowing. And an opportunity for Fitted for Work to honour the many people, the \"enablers\", who've made these fantastic achievements possible. Westpac Women's Markets are one of our champions. In selecting Fitted for Work as their Charity of the Year, and raising funds for our work with women in the bushfire affected areas Westpac Women's Markets has enabled Fitted for Work to develop a model regional service that is being piloted in the Gippsland/Latrobe Valley, opening by November 2010.

Many, including me, were teary as we looked at the packed room of women and men who care enough to offer their talents, time, money, energy - and so much more - so that disadvantaged women can have a better chance of improving their lives.