Terry Weber, QLD State Manager for Orange Sky partner Cisco, has been a long term supporter of the work of Orange Sky. When we launched the second year of The Sudsy Challenge, the Weber family had a chat around the dinner table.
As a family, Terry, his wife Julie and both children Dom (13) and Ben (17) agreed this was a great way to talk about, learn about and support people experiencing homelessness in their home town of Brisbane.
Over three days, Terry, Julie, Dom and Ben wore the same clothes, and even slept in them.
As well as starting some great conversations, the family got to experience first-hand some of the emotions our friends on the street feel every day. Terry felt self-conscious about the way he smelled and Dom found it difficult to leave the house without changing into fresh clothes.
“How would you shower, or even brush your teeth? Public toilets aren’t always very nice places to try and clean yourself.” - Dom
As a family, the Webers gained a new appreciation for some of the simplest things, like maintaining friendships. “It would be difficult to be disconnected from your community, and tough to struggle with finding a new one. We understand now why the people who use Orange Sky’s services are called friends.”
Some of the most important conversations they had over the weekend were about empathy, and not judging people. The whole family now has a better understanding of what it might be like to experience homelessness. They all said the feeling of being able to take off their clothes and shower on the last day of the challenge was liberating.
“Now, we’re not blind to people doing it tough.”