Executive Director’s Report

In a recent grant submission, I described Palms as “essentially a network of organisations”. On reflection I realised that I had indicated major achievement of what those at Palms organizational reviews earlier this decade refined as our vision:
“To participate in and develop networks that link and engage people across cultures in order to cooperate in reducing poverty and achieve a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world.”
Realizing this vision, with its associated mission, under the umbrella of our solidarity values, is a tribute to you all.

Palms has gone so much further than just participating in and developing networks. Palms office has become a network hub assisting constituent organisations seeking to achieve similar goals. An observer of the emblems on the back of Palms Post will notice an expansion that now shows signs of continuing with each new issue. Palms has become a vessel in which the values, charisms and resources of so many are carefully churned so as to provide a splendid blend that retains the unique flavour of each ingredient.

To those who have given it serious consideration it is relatively easy to see that collaboration in recruitment, preparation, sending and support of volunteers allows the comprehensive set of procedures developed by Palms over forty-seven years to be properly maintained. All aspects of formation and placement are managed, while keeping an individual organisation’s charism in focus. The cost advantages are also very clear. Not only that, but the network is much better able to manage risk and develop new initiatives.

Indeed, the growing breadth and depth of the network in health, education, hospitality, and development missions sees us embarking on initiatives that each organisation alone might hesitate to embrace. For example this year we are engaging collective strengths to: a) develop and offer appropriate preparation for Australians undertaking exposure tours and b) pilot placements in Australia for overseas nationals wishing to further develop skills here. (We have been approached and have the capacity to assist skill development in hospitality).

Also, given a new government, and friends offering to make us more visible at that level, the network will offer to assist a review of the Government volunteer program in light of the research being undertaken of Palms relationship-based model of community volunteering. (To see an article on the research go to http://www.dev-zone.org/justchange/). Wisely, Palms’ Directors have agreed that we need to put some effort into further developing the plan of approach to Government and Directors are proceeding to work on that plan before their May 29th meeting. Others who would like to contribute thoughts and ideas should contact me.

Despite the paradox of celebrating new life in the southern hemisphere as we watch the autumn leaves fall, it is so appropriate that Easter is upon us as these signs of new life emerge. With such new life to celebrate as we look forward, and plenty to celebrate as we look back in this 50th year since foundation, we have chosen Spring dates for a dinner (Saturday October 18th) and a picnic (Sunday October 19th) in Sydney, to mark the occasion.

I expect members of Paulians, Palms and the organisations of the network that we have become will come to the party, so do book early for dinner and/or put the picnic in your diary now. (See enclosed notice and booking form.) May Easter in all your other communities and broader networks also show signs of emerging new life.

Roger O’Halloran
Executive Director