Putting unity back in community

Matthew Jacobson, Leetoia Williams, Ruby Schofield (8) and Joanne Robson at Fingal Head public school.
Matthew Jacobson, Leetoia Williams, Ruby Schofield (8) and Joanne Robson at Fingal Head public school. John Gass

SOME of this youth worker's fondest Fingal Head memories are of its strong community.

Leetoia Williams was born there, and returned one year ago after seven years working internationally as a missionary and would like to help connect its people once again.

This is the aim of the "commUNITY"gathering event she has organised for this Saturday March 31.

Ms Williams said the theme of the day was "back to community".

"This has been in planning for a while, because I noticed the community wasn't having the get-togethers they did when I was growing up," she said.

"I've noticed a lot of division, and felt it was an urgent thing in my heart to stand up against discrimination."

She referred to hateful graffiti which was spray painted on a wall at Fingal Cemetery during early March, and said discrimination and racism could be defeated by love.

Ms Williams is a youth worker with Coolangatta-based Krurungal and developed a passion for guiding young people during her missionary work.

"There are issues out there such as teen pregnancy, alcoholism and drug abuse, so hopefully bringing kids together in an atmosphere such as the commUNITY gatherings will be beneficial.

"Because they're so young they're very open to things, while older people might be more set in their ways."

The event, which runs from 10am-2pm (NSW) on Saturday, will feature food, touch football and the opportunity for local artists to entertain.

"I'm hoping to do it once a month," Ms Williams said.

"I've got a small group of people willing to help me and I'm going to see how this one goes first.

"I've got big ideas for the future: I'm thinking of running workshops."

Missionary work taught her how materially wealthy but time-poor Australia was.

"Our community is so busy, and with events like this we can drop and just breathe and have time to just hang out with people.

"Hopefully it will bring people together and reconnect them."

The commUNITY gathering will be held at Fingal Head Primary School.

Phone Ms Williams on 0401 571 791 if you would like to help.

Topics:  community, fingal head public school, missionary



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