Prompted to action by homeless with skin ‘flaking’
THERESA MITCHELL started Agape Outreach as a way to help the homeless people she saw on the street everyday.
In 11 years that small gesture grew into a charitable organisation which has over 120 volunteers and saw Ms Mitchell named as a finalist in the TransGrid Leadership award.
Ms Mitchell said the pain that homeless people endure day-to-day was enough to drive her to keep making a difference in the community.
"I never foresaw that, at the start I was happy to keep it small … but then you see the pain in people's eyes and it stirs your heart and you think 'maybe I can help with that need or maybe I can do this one," she said.
"It started back then with me making a meal and saying 'who's hungry?', 11 years ago there was next to nothing helping the homeless around … we've come so far in 11 years, we have a big beautiful venue and we just opened a psychology department."
Ms Mitchell said the organisation was about solving the needs they saw within the homeless community around them.
"After seeing families with a baby that were homeless pushing a baby around in the sun all day with nowhere to go and their skin flaking off from sunburn I wanted a venue where people would come and get out of the sun and access support."
As a finalist in the TransGrid leadership award, Ms Mitchell said the role had grown on her as the charity expanded.
"I've had to grow in it, I was a single mum, I had foster kids … all of a sudden I had a team to deal with and that team has gotten bigger and bigger … there's a lot to learn about different personalities … and basically keeping this place a happy place," she said.
"I don't want to leave this world without making it a better place."
To see more about Agape Outreach or vote in the TransGrid Leadership award, search Agape Outreach on Facebook.