Wings to fly
Central Coast local Sharyn Becker loves creating connections to help people – and her community is all the better for it.
Story by Cornelia Schulze, photography by Frank Schulze Sharyn has been a community worker at her local Neighbour-hood Centre for ten years; tirelessly raising funds, launching new programs and doubling as a marketing manager. She clearly rolls with the punches and has a keen eye and ear for the needs of the local community.
Her latest project, the Because We Care Boutique in Glenning Valley, started out as an op shop and has merged into a multi-faceted support network that continues to grow (almost) every day.
“I kept thinking that more help was needed in the community – especially for women fleeing from domestic violence or with a history of substance abuse. The bushfires and then COVID-19 have made already dire situations even worse so what we want to do is help people to help themselves as they are trying to start a new chapter,” Sharyn explains.
She started looking around for ideas and concepts that had a good track record of success.
“We visited ‘Fitted for Work’ in Parramatta, who are helping women by giving them professional clothes for job interviews or when meeting with a real estate agent to find a new home.
“It’s not about the clothes, the shoes or a handbag. It’s about giving the women confidence for what is a really scary step for most of them,” explains Sharyn, who immediately saw the need for a similar offering on the Central Coast.
“There is nothing like it here or in the Hunter Valley so I started talking to local job centres who told me that they have to hire a bus and take their clients to Parramatta or to ‘Dress for Success’ in Marrickville in the Inner West of Sydney.”
Sharyn had well established contacts to the Iris Foundation via the Central Coast Business Women’s Network (www.cbwn.org.au) and the Foundation supported her right from the get-go.
Donations started pouring in and last July the boutique moved into the Berkeley Centre in Glenning Valley, where there is just enough space for the donated items, a change room, a dressing table for the styling sessions and two giant angel wings on the wall (more on that later).
“Since every styling session is different, we are unable to put a time limit on it. Some appointments have been over two hours because this is a safe space for our clients. Although, we’re not counsellors, we’re just supporting them. There’s a lot of tea or coffee involved as we like to get them a drink and help them to settle in. The women often share their stories, but of course that’s all confidential,” she says.
To sponsor a styling session or host a fundraiser please call 0492 914 262 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more community news in the Autumn edition of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.