National Volunteers Week

From RARA National to all volunteers thank you for your commitment to caring for others in so many ways. To our own RAR Family of volunteers we greatly appreciate your support to our tribe.
Duty First

Volunteering Australia is delighted to announce its new theme and logo for National Volunteer Week (NVW) in 2018. The theme for 2018 is: Give a little. Change a lot.

 

This theme represents the millions of volunteers who make a significant impact in their communities and on society by giving a little of their time. National Volunteer week will be held from 21-27 May 2018.

 

Resources are available for download here. Please check the website for more details over the coming months. We look forward to celebrating Australia’s 6 million volunteers who generously give their time to various causes.

VETAFFAIRS – From The Minister: Putting Veterans First

 

In his first Vetaffairs column since his appointment as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs in March, Darren Chester shares his plans for the portfolio, starting by thanking Vetaffairs readers for their service.

“This portfolio is one that can make a real difference to people’s lives. It’s my job, as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, to make sure that we understand and act on your needs so that we can make that difference.

My approach will be pretty straightforward. I’m your representative to government. I will make sure your voice is heard. I want to know what your concerns are, and I’ll do my best to address them within the Parliamentary process.

“I want to know what’s going on, and what’s working. I want to know what’s not working, and where we can make changes…”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

AUSTRALIANS CAUGHT UP IN FACEBOOK LEAK TO BE NOTIFIED SHARE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

About 310,000 Australian Facebook users are set to find out their personal information may have been accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

facebook

The social media behemoth is expected on Wednesday (Tuesday US time) to notify the 87 million users worldwide whose data may have been unknowingly and “improperly” shared with the British political consulting agency.

About one in 50 Australian users and one in every three American users are among those affected.

Facebook users will receive one of two notifications at the top of their newsfeed.

READ MORE


Fuel Savings with RACQ

 RACQ members can now receive fuel discounts at service stations across the country.

The deal with independent fuel retailer chain Puma Energy allows members to save four cents per litre off their fuel purchases.

This discount is not only on all fuel types at more than 100 participating Puma servos in Queensland, but Australia wide. Perfect for those members taking an inter-state road trip.

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A Christmas Message – Thriving or Surviving? Qld Padre Peter Devenish-Meares

As 2017 ends: Thriving or surviving? Or a bit of both!!!   Please be assured of my prayerful support as I honour all you do. I also invite you to do a few minutes of reflection and, in this light,  I respectfully offer some practical tips on thriving not just surviving. Why not pick just one or two to think and act on.

Why do this?  Well, we all experience times when we are at the top of our game (even thriving) and perhaps don’t stop to think on it, let alone be thankful or track what worked well to get us there.  At other times, we seem to be just surviving perhaps due to heavier work volumes, rushed deadlines, marked change or unexpected occurrences etc.

In all these contexts, we can make (or not make) choices that support us to be as equipped, prepared and ‘fit’ (in body, mind and spirit) as we can be.  When life is shifting rapidly (e.g. a relocation, job change, new tasks etc.) and life seems more like the fast running tide going 80 knots per hour rather than a serene, peaceful lake, what do we do?

 

11 Tips Comment
Be active Daily, often, a must do!!… an active life can support our spirituality too
Pray How often do we stop to reflect, meditate and pray?
Teams matter We can do more together than by ourselves.  How often do we acknowledge our teams?
Take care of your body Change can equal stress.  After all the work volumes, deadlines and change, do you give yourself permission to rest, eat well and relax?
Be adventuresome How often do you see change as an adventure noting that all real adventure entails some challenge, difficulty and discomfort- that’s ok
Do one enjoyable thing each day No time?  What about 15 minutes out of 1440 minutes in a 24 hr period.  It’s only one (1%) percent of your day!!!
 

Live one day at a time

“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself…” (Matt 6:24)   How well do you live with ambiguity? Do you have a role model or mentor who can help? If not, ask someone if they will be a guide (most people like to be asked)
 

Inform yourself

What works for you in times of busy-ness? change? What doesn’t work? If one did a ‘gap analysis’:

(a)     who has the information you need today?

(b)     what new ideas, skills or choices do I need in my toolkit to support me, my team etc?

Ask for support In times of change, stress or ambiguity – who do you need to keep informed; who is most helpful?  Do you find it hard to ask for help?
Take time for solitude Seemingly not everyone’s cup of tea but time alone can allow us time to settle our thoughts and emotions
 

Celebrate or ritualise change

How often do you stop to celebrate a step taken? An outcome achieved?  Have you ever stopped to ritualise a change or ending? It could be as simple as closing the door with a prayer of thankfulness!

Gustin, M. (1997). Welcoming change: 10 Tips for thriving not just surviving. Ligouri MO: Ligouri Press (adapted).

I wish you every Christmas joy, peace and prayerful support for now and for 2018 and beyond as you step into whatever tomorrow holds.

Blessings

Padre Peter

DVA SUPPORT SERVICES FOR VETERANS OPEN OVER CHRISTMAS

Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) Simon Lewis said today that crucial support services for the veteran community will continue to be available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
“Christmas is a time of celebration for most Australians, but it’s important to remember that for veterans it can bring on a reminder of what has been lost, of the men and women who didn’t make it back home from service overseas and of those continuing to serve our country far from their families and loved ones.
“I wish to reassure veterans and their families that while some DVA services will be reduced during this break, help and support, including mental health support, will remain available throughout the holiday period and they can continue to access crucial DVA services during this time,” Mr Lewis said.

The services that will remain available to veterans include:
 Counselling – The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) offers free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support for current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. This service is available toll free on 1800 011 046, 24/7.

 Access to DVA’s online mental health information and support – Veterans can visit DVA’s At Ease mental health portal wherever they are at www.at-ease.dva.gov.au

 Transport – DVA staff will be available to process transport requests for medical treatment between 27–29 December. The transport booking service will be closed on 25–26 December and 1 January. If transport is required during this period but has not been pre-booked, DVA clients can pay for the transport up front and seek reimbursement when offices re-open. Alternatively, transport can be booked and reviewed, and travel expenses can be claimed online through DVA’s MyAccount at https://myaccount.dva.gov.au.

 Hospital admissions – Doctors can admit DVA patients into hospital and request retrospective approval for the admission, where required, when DVA resumes full services on 2 January.

 Defence Service Homes (DSH) Insurance – Help with policy and claim enquiries is available 24-hours a day on 1300 552 662. Payments can be made on 1300 304 989 or via the DSH website www.dsh.gov.au.

 Pharmaceutical approvals – providers seeking prior approval for pharmaceuticals can call the Veterans’ Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre (VAPAC) 24-hours a day on 1800 552 580.

All DVA offices will close at the end of business on Friday, 22 December 2017 and will resume full services on Tuesday, 2 January 2018.

Mr Lewis added that there would be no change in pension payment dates this year over the Christmas–New Year period.
“To all members of the veteran and Defence community and their families, on behalf of the Department I wish you all the best for the festive season and 2018,” Mr Lewis said.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 45 46). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.

Online Program Gives Veterans Tools To Thrive

Veterans struggling with transition and mental health issues will be able to access online peer-to-peer support through a new pilot partnership from RSL Queensland and Survive to Thrive Nation.

The pilot will enable veterans to access the Post War: Survive to Thrive personal development coaching program.

RSL Queensland General Manager Scott Denner said Survive to Thrive provided a valuable forum for veterans to build resilience and regain control of their lives.

“A significant difference with the Survive to Thrive program is that it has been developed by a veteran to address the issues he was facing in his own life,” Mr Denner said.

“There is sometimes a perception among veterans that civilian health professionals cannot understand what they are going through, but they can recognise the military mindset that underlies the Survive to Thrive program.

“As well as providing personal development coaching, Survive to Thrive allows veterans to connect with others who have been through similar experiences and come out the other side.”

“It is also a great option for veterans who are living in rural or remote areas, who may have limited access to face-to-face support programs,” Mr Denner said.

He said an independent evaluation by the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation (GMRF) indicated that veterans experienced positive outcomes after participating in the program, particularly if combined with clinical therapies.

Survive to Thrive founder and former infantry soldier Dane Christison said he had developed the program after suffering with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) himself.

“I began clinical treatment, but I found the courses and programs were tailored for civilians; they didn’t answer the questions I had,” Mr Christison said.

“It wasn’t until I stopped blaming everyone else and took back the power for my own recovery that I began to see how I could move forward.

“Survive to Thrive teaches participants to accept their situation but not tolerate it. We give them the training structure and tools to allow them to take control of their own recovery and boost their wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem.”

Former Army bomb disposal technician Corey Stamp said Survive to Thrive had made a big difference in his life since he discharged two years ago.

“It was what I needed when I got out,” Mr Stamp said.

“I had a breakdown after my first tour of Afghanistan in 2010 but I wanted to go back so I just suppressed everything I was feeling.

“To a certain extent, Defence provides a safety blanket – losing that, combined with losing the routine and all my mates was a real shock to the system.

“Survive to Thrive gave me back the structure that I was missing from Defence, as well as giving me the strength to take ownership of what I was going through and to stop playing the victim,” he said.

Mr Denner said through the pilot program, RSL would provide licences to eligible veterans who might not otherwise be able to afford the program.

“Veterans will get ongoing 24/7 access to the Survive to Thrive portal, including eight coaching modules and an online support group where participants encourage, inspire and motivate each other.”

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Veterans interested in the program should contact [email protected] or visit www.survivetothrivenation.com/contact-us

Exposé: Can we trust energy comparison site recommendations?

Buyer Beware: comparison sites profit from your desire to snatch a bargain

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) the consumer watchdog recommends that energy customers wishing to compare price plans visit a government-sponsored site such as energymadeeasy.gov.au.

TEHAN MEDIA RELEASE – $31 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH

Today, the Turnbull Government commits an additional $31 million to support veterans as part of its response to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Reference’s committee report The Constant Battle: Suicide by veterans.

As the Prime Minister has said, we best honour the diggers of 1917 by ensuring our veterans in 2017 receive the support they need and deserve. When someone stops serving their country it is their country’s turn to start serving them.

READ  WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PROVIDE

FIRST CAMP FOR CHILDREN OF VETERANS AFFECTED BY MENTAL ILLNESS

The first Kookaburra Kids Foundation camp for children of current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) families affected by mental illness will take place this weekend.
The camp will give the children the opportunity to have fun in a supportive environment while also learning about mental illness and developing coping and resilience skills.
More than 30 children from the ACT region will participate in the camp which includes a range of activities led by qualified volunteer leaders.

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