Where do you currently live and work?
I live in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast. Since retiring 12 years ago, I have volunteered for a number of organisations. I am currently working as a volunteer at St John’s Crisis Centre, which is an outreach of St John’s Anglican Church, Surfers Paradise.
What is your current role, including any voluntary roles, and what does your role involve?
I’ve been the St John’s Crisis Centre Welfare Manager for several years and President of the Board for two years. Both roles are undertaken in a voluntary capacity. Some of my key activities include interviewing people who approach us in a crisis and helping to identify the best way to assist them; referring people to other services; giving presentations to schools and organisations about St John’s; supervising university and TAFE students doing placements; assisting with the free daily lunch service; sourcing items for welfare packages; organising Christmas hampers; and, fundraising.
I see my role as assisting our clients in achieving self-sustainability and increasing St John’s supporting activities, so they are commensurate with the ever-increasing needs of our community.
How long have you been involved in the Anglican Church and in what roles?
My high school years were spent at St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School in Ascot, which has a reputation for empowering students to achieve whatever they set their minds to. The school gave me a greater sense of caring and I see my roles at St John’s Crisis Centre as the culmination of God’s plan for me.
What is the mission and purpose of St John’s Crisis Centre?
Our mission is to assist any vulnerable and disadvantaged person in our community. Our Crisis Centre respects each and every client and is not judgemental.
You were awarded 2021 Volunteer of The Year for the Gold Coast – what did this recognition mean to you and the St John’s Crisis Centre team?
I see the achievement of Gold Coast Volunteer of the Year as recognition of the team effort provided by St John’s Crisis Centre in supporting those in need. It demonstrated to us that what we do is valued by the wider community.
What projects and activities are you currently working on?
One of the scourges of our society is the prevalence of domestic and family violence. Providing safe temporary accommodation for these survivors is an absolute priority of the crisis centre. This is becoming increasingly difficult with the lack of available and affordable housing. Consequently, there are an increasing number of women sleeping in their cars with their children.
In partnership with St Peter’s, Southport and the Diocese of Brisbane, two units purchased by St Peter’s are providing emergency accommodation for mothers fleeing domestic and family violence with their children through St John’s Crisis Centre.
What has been one of the highlights of your time in your role as Welfare Manager and President of St John’s Crisis Centre?
The two units are housing two families. Knowing that one of these families can sleep safely without threat of violence and knowing that the other family has beds to sleep in instead of their car, has brought relief to all of us at the centre.
What have been the key challenges of your roles so far and how have you worked through these?
We are constantly trying to source the funds to achieve the almost impossible with respect to the varied needs of our clients, whether it be providing accommodation or money for car registrations, school uniforms and fees, utility bills, or simply to put food on the table. To have been in a position to positively change one person’s world gives us the strength to continue God’s Mission.
What are your plans and goals for the next 12 months?
We will continue our search for corporate sponsors to help fund safe, transitional accommodation for various groups of vulnerable clients in crisis who have “fallen through the cracks”.
A major fundraiser is our Christmas in July luncheon at the Gold Coast Turf Club. From this year, this event will be held annually on the last Saturday of July. Tickets can be purchased via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can you tell us a little about your personal faith journey?
I am fortunate to have been a part of a loving family whose support has given me the strength to address the needs of financially and emotionally disadvantaged people, potential suicide victims, clients impacted by domestic violence, mental health sufferers and people who are homeless. Without faith, none of this could be achieved. My faith gives me the strength I need.
How does your faith inspire you and shape your outlook, life choices and character?
I believe God has given me such direction in life and the optimism and courage to achieve beneficial outcomes for others.
What is your favourite scripture and why?
The Sermon on the Mount because it encapsulates the best goals for humanity.
What person of faith inspires you the most and why?
Mother Teresa was a totally selfless human being who shared and practised the Word of God.
2022’s Diocesan theme is “Being Together: Embracing Joy”. What are some practical ways that we can celebrate the way differences help to make us whole and the importance of diversity in our unity?
By doing what we do at St John’s, the smiles on the faces of our clients reinforces the humanity of what Jesus preached. During COVID-19 lockdowns our daily free lunches were served via takeaway. Now that we have returned to daily sit-down lunches, we are reminded of how important face-to-face conversations over a meal is.
Why is Reconciliation with First Nations peoples important?
It is and always will be their Country. Their Country was occupied and their children taken from their families. Christians need to be a part of reconciling this history.
What is it important to celebrate NAIDOC Week?
I think it’s important that the cultures and achievements of First Nations peoples are recognised and celebrated in a dedicated week annually.
What are the primary strengths of the Church and what is the best way to make the most of these for the benefit of our communities?
The primary strength of the Church is that it gets out and practises what it preaches. This, in turn, benefits that part of the community that our Centre tries to support.
What is the kindest gesture you have ever received or witnessed?
We have a sponsor who kindly donates cash each Christmas for us to share with specific clients who are really doing it tough. This sharing is what the Christmas spirit is all about.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received and who gave you this advice?
When I was volunteering at the Queensland Cancer Fund, I heard the words, “Walk where they are”. Empathy is my guiding principle.
What do you do in your free time to recharge and relax?
I enjoy long walks on the beach and spending time with my family.
If you found yourself on a deserted island, what three things would you choose to have with you?
Two bottles of wine, a chardonnay and a red, and a corkscrew.
Where do you do your best thinking?
When I’m walking along the beach. The sound of the waves clears the debris, so I can focus.
What is your karaoke go-to song?
None…my family won’t let me sing. When my son was two years old, he said, “Mummy, please don’t sing.”
What book have you given away most as a gift and why?
A book I wrote called A Life in the Day of Diann Eadeh that supports people who find out they were adopted later in life. I was 55 when I found out I was adopted. I knew that if I didn’t write it all down, that I would forget the details.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would that be?
Cheese. A hard Italian cheese.
Editor’s note: If you would like to find out more about St John’s Crisis Centre visit their website or contact Dianne Kozik for a tour of the centre. If you would like to donate either a one-off amount or monthly, please visit the St John’s Crisis Centre website or contact Dianne Kozik on (07) 5531 6013 or via email@example.com (please leave a message – phone sometimes aren’t answered when the St John’s team are helping people face to face). If you are in immediate danger, call 000 for police or ambulance help. For a list of helplines and websites available to women, children and men, visit this page on the Queensland Government website.
Find out more about this year’s NAIDOC Week events by visiting the anglican focus Events page. For more information and resources for this year’s NAIDOC Week, please visit the NAIDOC Week website.