Posted by: breathliftlive | 23/03/2011

Inspirational organisation

I was honoured to receive an email from Sondra Kalnins who co-ordinates the Inner City Gambling Service for an organisation called HopeStreet Urban Compassion.

“I co-ordinate Inner City Gambling Counselling and from time to time run family workshops. I had to push one forward and am having one this Sat 26th at 10am ( Level 3/140 William St East Sydney). Your website and story is so inspiring I wanted to invite you as a guest speaker. The workshops are very personal and generally I have about 5-6 family or friends. As you would understand sharing the story is very helpful, breaking down the isolation and giving people helpful strategies about dealing with problem in terms of support for the gambler but also importantly ‘self care’. I don’t know where you live and realise this is very short notice but sometimes I have to arrange a meeting quickly when the need is there. If you can come that would be fantastic but certainly I understand this may not be possible.Hope to hear from you and congratulations on your great work.
> p.s. I will be letting people know of your website. Best wishes”

I was so touched that Sondra contacted me, let alone asked me to be a guest speaker! Unfortunately I live in QLD and am unable to attend but Sondra’s email made me look into this organisation.

Sondra writes in another email to me, “We are funded by the Responsible Gambling Fund and see people individually as well as running groups for gamblers in recovery and Workshops for Family and Friends. We also do outreach groups at Inner City refuges and various Community centres to make information and treatment available to homeless problem gamblers or to disadvantaged people who are unlikely to access help through traditional referrals. As you well know family members have a real hard time and the workshops have been a great support to many. I will let family members know about your website and encourage them to read and contribute.The organisation I work for is called Hopestreet Urban Compassion and if you google that our website will come up. I am very disappointed you are in QLD !! but happy to have made contact. You are really doing a great job and will be a source of support for many. ”

The comment on the home page of their site states:

HopeStreet works alongside the most marginalised people in our city, through programs aimed at empowering people toward the fullness of life for which we were all created. HopeStreet seeks to build projects which are wholistic, incarnational, and empowering.

As mentioned on the site, HopeStreet focuses on three main areas:

Charity that Empowers which aims to bring greater independence and freedom to those whose lives are crippled by homelessness, long-term unemployment, sex work, problem gambling, poverty and loss of indigenous culture.

Church Planting which aims to develop worshipping Christian communities in areas of the city which are forgotten – communities which are relevant to the area in which they are planted.  At present we are involved in Woolloomooloo, Glebe, Darlinghurst/Surry Hills and Pyrmont/Ultimo.

Urban Education which aims to raise awareness of urban issues and theology, and to train people for ministry in marginalised urban contexts.

Projects they are involved in include:

  • Community Development among Public Housing Residents
  • Community Building with Indigenous People
  • Employment Training for the long-term Unemployed
  • Semi-supported Accommodation for Homeless People
  • Counselling and Group Support for Problem Gamblers
  • Support for Street-Based Female Sex Workers

This is a truly amazing organisation that is all about empowering people, giving them back a sense of self worth, working through problems and getting them back on their feet.

As Sondra mentioned there are workshops for problem gamblers and their families. I encourage everyone to check out this organisation and if you live in the Sydney area and would like to talk to someone, give them a call. Their website is:

It’s people like Sondra and organisations like HopeStreet Urban Compassion that inspire me to keep going and to want to help others.


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