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In line with government protocols, Iris Foundation has suspended all public gatherings until further notice. This includes planned fundraisers and the ever-popular Community & Business Women’s Network events.

CBWN members – and anyone else who’s interested – are encouraged to keep in touch during the COVID-19 crisis via our dedicated Facebook group. CBWN founder Sharyn Burgess and members will be on hand to share information and advice, as well as some much-needed laughter.

In the meantime, Iris Foundation would like to share some feedback from an International Women’s Day event held ealier this month that really underlines the importance of building inclusive networks, especially in these challenging times (shared with permission).

I am writing to you to express to you the impact you have had on five beautiful young ladies that mean the world to me. Even as I begin this letter my eyes are welling up. 

 For those of you that only met us briefly yesterday, a bit of background on who we are. I am Amy, one of the three teachers at The Lakes College – Youth Off The Streets. I teach 24 of the most disadvantaged young people on the Central Coast.

 Our biggest goal is to love them. Some days that is all we can do, but on good days we can do so much more. I believe that the more they see that there are adults that care about them and the more they realise they have a positive place to function within our community the better.

My colleagues and I also try to show them there is a world out there above and beyond their normal. Yesterday was one of those good days, in fact as one of the girls said on the bus on the way back to school, “Amy, this is the best morning I can EVER remember. Thank you.” Ever.

 Nothing says ‘International Women’s Day’ to me more than women lifting other women up and I was overwhelmed by the kindness I witnessed.

 Some days my job is just about holding these girls together, but yesterday I had the opportunity to give them hope and I couldn’t have done this without you. Thank you to Sharyn for responding to my request and making it happen. Thank you to Sue and Iris Foundation for the amazing work you do in our community. Thank you to Darren and the Unity Bank for stepping up and saying we are here to help. And thank you to keynote speaker Lisa Burling for sharing your story and providing my girls with a practical way to move forward. It really does take a village.

 I hope we can continue to work together to make a difference to our young people. The small act of kindness you have all shown has meant the world to them and me. Thank you for caring about my kids.

 Happy International Women’s Day!

Amy Gill, The Lakes College

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