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Results 1 - 25 of 89
1. Author Visit at Kids in Distress Aftercare a Whole Lot of Fun!

Being an author and teaching artist has in turn taught me so much. Most enlightening has been learning about the many outstanding grant-based and donor-funded programs available to South Florida parents and their children. Because of these programs, many parents have affordable and often free before and after care options, so they can work to support their families financially. And there’s so much more to these wonderful programs, including dedicated staff members.

Kids in Distress was created to for “the prevention of child abuse, preservation of the family, and the treatment of abused and neglected children.” Since 1979, the Broward chapter has been educating children through their preschools, aftercare program and day camps. They support families with numerous programs such as adoption, foster care, recovery services, and health and counseling services. The Children’s Services Council of Broward is at the forefront of this agency’s funding.

I was thrilled to be invited to present my literacy program to 75 students who participate in the MOST Aftercare Program, under the direction of Kevin Bochenek. These kids were curious, eager to learn and asked me more questions than I’ve ever been asked before. By the end of the author visit, they had a new appreciation for the biodiversity of the rainforest and seemed excited about reading more about it on their own.

DSC_0015Learning about the many animals species of the rain forest is so exciting!

DSC_0008We learned about the importance of geography literacy and reading maps.


One five-year-old boy knew how birds are responsible for planting so many trees (Yes, they poop out the seeds!)

DSC_0023Any and every child who has the privilege of learning with MOST Director Kevin Bochenek is lucky indeed. Kevin has been a dedicated child advocate for more than 25 years, and he’s so kind and caring with the children.

DSC_0002I love seeing art projects made by the children, and this beautiful facility has them decorating their bright walls.

DSC_0004The charming children’s library offers kids a wide variety or reading and learning options.

I want to thank Kevin from Kids in Distress for inviting me to present Lilly Badilly and all the children for making my day so bright. Keep reading and learning!

Readers, to contact Kids in Distress, click here. For more information about foster parenting, volunteering or mentoring, click here.

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2. Melina Marchetta, Schools and Citizenship address

Melina Marchatte launching Alice Pun's YA novelOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADays of being an author – is called crazy-good and up-for-air.  Madly frantic!!!!

Racing from KINGS School, to TARA Girls School to Murray Farm Public School  to share my I AM JACK books and ‘Elephants Have Wings.’  The librarians are so hospitable – I got well fed and lots of coffee and I got to share my books with gorgeous kids.

Then it’s Gleebook shop Book Launch of Alice Pung’s first young adult novel – Laurinda – launched by my friend and colleague Melina Marchetta. Both Alice and Melina are Room to Read Writer Ambassadors like I am.  We’re all on a mission to get books to kids in the developing world.

Room to Read out for dinner with writer ambassadors Susanne Gervay, Alice Pung, Melina MarchettaThen it’s off to a fabulous Indian restaurant with the Room to Read team led by Jennie Orchard and stayed too late because I was having a great time.

Highlight was the citizenship ceremony at Woollahra Council. I addressed a packed house overlooking the beautiful harbour. Purple-blue jacaranda trees heavy with flowers greeted em and I got to hang out with the Mayor Of Woollahra Toni Zeltzer. Loved the gold chains and warm welcome by Toni and all the Council staff but more than that – I had the privilege of addressing 36 new Australians – from Hungary, Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, Pakistan …

I am an Australia Day Ambassador – it’s something I love doing. I’ll be flying to speak in Tamworth this year on Australia Day.

Woollahra Council citizenship ceremonyIt was moving addressing the 36 new Australians and their families and friends from countries as diverse as Thailand, Singapore, Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, UK  … Pakistan.  The Pakistan young man and his 3 young friends were beside themOAM medal, Order of Australia Susanne Gervayselves that they became Australians today.

I loved speaking to them about our immigrant country that embraced them all and I did a show and tell and held up my Order of Australia.

They loved it. I loved it and it was very special. Made me think about my parents and their journey here.







The post Melina Marchetta, Schools and Citizenship address appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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3. Love, love, love the community of kids’ books!!!

Susanne Gervay's I AM JACK in Las VegasIt’s the start of 2014 & it’s drop in time before the crazy life of writing tours, events, festivals , school visits, media …. start seriously.

Where’s the drop in centre? You guessed it -The Hughenden.

I loved catching up with:-

Dianne Wolfer and Jennie Orchards at The Hughenden 001-the award winning Albany (WA) Dianne Wolfer whose Lighthouse Girl & Lighthouse Boy (Fremantle Press) are best sellers!

- Monica Lizama the Chilean-Australian writer who dresses up as her character PAWS!

- Jennie Orchard with Margaret Wilcox from Room to Read who are developing the Writer Ambassador programme to raise awareness of the need to educate the kids of Asaa and Africa. SCBWI is on board with lots of our authors taking on the role of ambassadors.

- Libby Hathorn dropping in with her poetry books and she’s got a new book coming out with HarperCollins on ANZACS.

- Chris Cheng with Bini getting ready to head off to New York for the SCBWI Conference and then Bologna Book Fair  …. and other favourite creators!

And I’m getting my spangles ready to hit Las Vegas for the I AM JACK season at the Smith Center of performing Arts!\

I’m staying at the EXCALIBUR HOTEL, so getting into princess gear … their could be some princes there. or toads!


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4. Love, love, love the community of kids’ books!!!

Susanne Gervay's I AM JACK in Las VegasIt’s the start of 2014 & it’s drop in time before the crazy life of writing tours, events, festivals , school visits, media …. start seriously.

Where’s the drop in centre? You guessed it -The Hughenden.

I loved catching up with:-

-the award winning Albany (WA) Dianne Wolfer whose Lighthouse Girl (Fremantle Press) is a best seller!

- Monica Lizama the Chilean-Australian writer who dresses up as her character PAWS!

- Jennie Orchard with Margaret Wilcox from Room to Read who are developing the Writer Ambassador programme to raise awareness of the need to educate the kids of Asaa and Africa. SCBWI is on board with lots of our authors taking on the role of ambassadors.

- Libby Hathorn dropping in with her poetry books and she’s got a new book coming out with HarperCollins on ANZACS.

- Chris Cheng with Bini getting ready to head off to New York for the SCBWI Conference and then Bologna Book Fair  …. and other favourite creators!

Nearly ready to hit Las Vegas for the I AM JACK season at the Smith Center of performing Arts!

I’m staying at the EXCALIBUR HOTEL, so getting into princess gear … their could be some princes there. or toads!

The post Love, love, love the community of kids’ books!!! appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.

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5. Why the lobbying bill is a threat to the meaning of charity

By Matthew Hilton

On 30 January 2014 the UK government’s lobbying bill received the Royal Assent. Know more formally known as the Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Act, it seeks to curb the excesses in election campaign expenditure, as well as restricting the influence of the trade unions.

However, as various groups pointed out throughout its controversial parliamentary journey, Part 2 of the legislation will also have implications for charities, voluntary societies and non-governmental organisations once it comes into effect. Specifically, in restricting the amount of expenditure that non-party political bodies can spend ahead of a general election, it will severely curtail their lobbying, campaigning and advocacy work that has been a standard feature of their activities for some decades.

Understandably the sector has not welcomed the Act. The problem is that the legislation conflates general political lobbying with campaigning for a specific cause that is central to the charitable mission of an organisation. Sector leaders have critiqued the Bill as ‘awful’, ‘an absolute mess’ and ‘a real threat to democracy’.

It is not difficult to see why. The impact of charities on legislation in Britain has been profound and the examples run into many hundreds of specific Acts of Parliament. To mention but a few, a whole range of environmental groups successfully lobbied for the Climate Change Act 2008. Homelessness charities such as Shelter and the Child Poverty Action Group fought a battle for many years that resulted in the Housing Act 1977. The 1969 abolition of the death penalty can be partly attributed to the National Campaign for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and two pieces of legislation in 1967, the Sexual Offences Act and the Abortion Act, were very much influenced by the work of the Homosexual Law Reform Society and the Abortion Law Reform Association.

A group of campaigners from Christian Aid lobbying for Trade Justice. Photo by Kaihsu Tai. CC-BY-SA 3.0

A group of campaigners from Christian Aid lobbying for Trade Justice, Oxford, 2005. By Kaihsu Tai. CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The list could run on and on, but the impact of advocacy by charities on the policy process has become far more extensive than the straightforward lobbying of MPs. Charities have been key witnesses in Royal Commissions, for instance. From the 1944 Commission on Equal Pay Act through to the 1993 Commission on Criminal Justice, voluntary organisations contributed over a 1,000 written submissions. At Whitehall, they have sought a continued presence along the corridors of power in much the same manner as commercial lobbying firms. They have achieved much through the often hidden and usually imprecise, unquantifiable and unknowable interpersonal relationships fostered with key civil servants, both senior and junior.

In more recent years, charities have taken advantage of early day motions in the House of Commons. Once infrequently employed, by the first decade of the 21st century, there were on average 1,875 early day motions in each parliamentary session. The most notable have managed to secure over 300 signatures and it is here that the influence of charities is particularly apparent. The topics that obtain such general — and cross-party — support have tended to be in the fields of disability, drugs, rights, public health, the environment, and road safety; all subjects on which charities have been particularly effective campaigners.

Not all of these lobbying activities have been successful. Leaders of charities have often expressed their frustration at being unable to influence politicians who refuse to listen, else being outgunned and out-voiced by lobbyists with greater financial muscle supporting their work. But the important point is that charities have had to engage in the political arena and it is the norm for them to do so. To restrict these activities now — even if only in the year in the run-up to a general election — actually serves to turn back a dominant trend in democratic participation that has come increasingly to the fore in contemporary Britain.

Having explored the history of charities, voluntary organisations and NGOs, tracing their growing power, influence and support, we found was that rather than there having been a decline in democracy over the last few decades there has actually been substantial shifts in how politics takes place. While trade unions, political parties and traditional forms of association life have witnessed varying rates of decline, support for environmental groups, humanitarian agencies and a whole range of single-issue campaigning groups has actually increased. Whether these groups represent a better or worse form of political engagement is not really the issue. The point is that the public has chosen to support charities — and charitable activity in the political realm — because ordinary citizens have felt these organisations are better placed to articulate their concerns, interests and values. As such, charities, often working at the frontier of social and political reform, but often alongside governments and the public sector, have become a crucial feature of modern liberal democracy.

One might have expected a government supposedly eager to embrace the ‘Big Society’ particular keen to free these organisations from the bureaucracy of the modern state. But it is quite clear that the Coalition has held a highly skewed, and rather old fashioned, view of appropriate charitable activity. The Conservatives imagined a world of geographically-specific, community self-help groups that might pick up litter on the roadside in their spare time at the weekend and who would never imagine that their role might be, for instance, to demand that local government obtains sufficient resources to ensure that the public sector — acting on the behalf of all citizens and not just a select few — would continue to maintain and beautify the world around us. There are clearly very different views on what charity is and what it should do.

Indeed, it is remarkable that when government spokespeople did comment on the nature of the charitable sector, they were quick to condemn the work of the bigger organisations. Lord Wei, the ‘Big Society tsar’, even went so far as to criticise the larger charities for being ‘bureaucratic and unresponsive to citizens’. With such attitudes it is no wonder the Big Society soon lost any pretence of adherence from the many thousands of bodies connected to the National Council of Voluntary Organisation.

It is tempting to see the particular form the Conservatives hoped the Big Society would take as part and parcel of a policy agenda that is connected to the lobbying bill. That is, there has never been an embrace of charities by Cameron and his ministers as the solution to society’s – and the state’s – ills. Rather, in viewing these developments alongside the huge cuts in public sector funding (which often trickled down to national and community-based charities), there has actually been a sustained attack on the very nature of charity, or at least it has developed as a sector in recent decades. It is no wonder that many charity leaders and CEOs, feeling cut off at the knees by the slashes to their budgets and damaged by the sustained abuse in the press for their mistakenly inflated salaries, now feel the Lobbying Act is seeking to gag their voice as well.

Matthew Hilton is Professor of Social History at the University of Birmingham, and the author of The Politics of Expertise: How NGOs Shaped Modern Britain, along with James McKay, Nicholas Crowson and Jean-François Mouhot. Together they also compiled ‘A Historical Guide to NGOs in Britain: Charities, Civil Society and the Voluntary Sector since 1945′ (Palgrave, 2012). All the data contained in these two volumes, as well as that found above, is freely available on their project website.

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6. Books in Homes Taking 1 Million Books to Kids

Hokey pokey published Scholastic AustraliaLove the committee meetings where we select great books for disadvantaged and indigenous kids across Western Sydney, the Outback Northern Territory.

Andrew Berhut MD of Scholastic singing Hokey Pokey in tune with a new title was hilarious. Hokey Pokey is on the list of books that children can chose for their very own. Andrew really supports his books!

Gillian Maugle represents school librarians on the committee and is fabulous.

As a Role Model I’ll be presenting at the Assembly for Books in Homes, to Curran Public School Macquarie Fields in Western Sydney on 18th June – looking forward to it.

SCBWI – Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Australia east and New Zealand is proud to support Book in Homes.


Books in Homes Kim KingstonGillian Maugle from Wiley Park for Books In HomesDaceyville Public School Nov 2013 013




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7. Maurice Saxby Lecture at Dixson Room State Library of NSW

Maurice Saxby AM with author Susanne Gervay, The Maurice Saxby Lecture CBCA NSW, The Dixson Room State Library of NSWMaurice Saxby AM is one of the significant people in the development of children’s literature in Australia.

The inaugural lecture where Maurice will be speaking will be important.

It’s a National Year of Reading 2012 event.

Date: Thursday 1st May

State Library Sydney NSW

Bookings are open:-

Ph: 02 9818 3858

or email


National year of reading 2012, Ambassadors include Frane Lessac,Libby Gleeson, Susanne Gervay, Libby Hathorn, Hazel Edwards, Richard Glover, Chris Cheng


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8. Verdict: ‘compassionate’ for ‘Ships in the Field’

Anna Pignataro's illustration of 'Ships in the Field' by Susanne GervayBlanche Clark’s small but beautiful review of ‘Ships in the Field’ touched me, as it captured the spirit of this journey into finding home and a place in new lands.

Loved her Verdict: ‘compassionate’

Sun herald review of 'Ships in the Field' illustrated by Anna Pignataro

National Year of Reading 2012 wwwlove2read.org, ambassador Susanne Gervay at Woollahra Council SydneyLove you to join me at Woollahra Council for afternoon tea 4 p.m. Thursday 8th March to launch their National Year of Reading with ‘Ships in the Field’.

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9. Supporting National Year of Reading 2012 and Room to Read

Love talking to the fantastic kids around Australia asRoom to Read, www.roomtoread.org, bringing literacy to kids of the developing world, partner of the National Year of Reading an Ambassador of the National  Year of Reading, Ambassador for Room to Read and  as a writer.National Year of Reading 2012, ambassadors Deborah Abela, Hazel Edwards, Susanne GervayCentral Coast Adventist School kids and Susanne GervaySusanne gervay and young fan Nina Lamb at The Hughenden launch of 'Ships in the FieldSt Jerome's School Punchbowl ith Susanne Gervay talk about 'I AM JACK' and bullyingCherrybrook Public School and 'I Am Jack' by Susanne Gervay

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10. Books in Homes~partners National Year of Reading

Thrilled that Books in Homes has partnered with The National Year of Reading

As an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading and as a role model for Books in Homes, I love going out, giving young people beautiful books, addressing assemblies and celebrating reading.

Find out more about Books in Homes – they take great books to kids in indigenous communities and disadvantaged schools.

Love it and the kids and and communities love it too.

It’s hands across our nation.

Read and discover the world and be all you can be.

Matraville Soldiers Settlement School Sydney mural made by students, Books in Homes with role Model Susanne gervay

Books In Homes at Auburn North Park Public School with Susanne Gervay as Role Model for Books in Homes


National Year of Reading 2012, ambassadors Deborah Abela, Hazel Edwards, Susanne Gervay


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11. As an Author Ambassador for the National Year of Year – Spreading the Word – www.love2read.org

Always Jack by Susanne Gervay illustrated by Cathy Wilcox, endorsed by the NSW Cancer Council, Biggest Morning TeaLibraries, libraries, libraries – you’ve got to LOVE them.

They’re spreading the reading message and as an ambassador for The National Year of Reading, I’m speaking at writers’ festivals, book launches, libraries, schools, bookshops.


National Year of Reading, www.love2read.org




Here’s a snapshot of my May tours for The National Year of Reading  - www.love2read.org

4-6th May ~ Keynote at the Gloucester Writers festival –  www.gloucesterwritersfestival.com

6th May – Launch at Gloucester Festival  of   ‘Alien Shores’ an anthology of refugees narratives that reach into struggles, humour, life of finding home with authors including speaking Sharon Rundle and Andrew Kwong. I’ll be speaking about my story.

17th -18th May -Coff’s Harbour region speaking at schools and the Catholic Diocese of Lismore in Northern NSW Teacher-Librarian Conference

20th May – Melbourne for the launch of Alien Shores by the Human Rights QC Julian Burnside with authors, Arnold Zable, Sharon Rundle, Professor Meenakshi Bharat, Susanne Gervay at 6 p.m. Readings Bookstore Carlton. http://www.readings.com.au/review/alien-shores-by-sharon-rundle-meenakshi-bharat-eds

22nd May – Launching Alien Shores in Sydney at The Hughenden Hotel with authors Linda Jailin, Sophie Masson, Sharon Rundle, Rosie Scott with the Consul General of India www.thehughenden.com.au

23rd May- Randwick Library in Sydney for Simultaneous Reading Time where ambassadors will read to parents and littlies across Australia – can’t wait, it’s going to be gorgeous!  http://www.alia.org.au/nss/

24-May – Taree Library speaking about ‘Always Jack’ for the Biggest Morning Tea in support of the Cancer Council at Taree Library brought up by the Australian Library and Information Association

25th May -Halliday’s Point Library on North Coast NSW

28th May – speaking at 10 am in Warringah Library in Sydney’s Northern Beaches about my first picture book ‘Ships in the Field’.

29th May – Teacher Librarian Conference at Maroubra Junction Public School Sydney

That’s my MAY spreading the National Year of Reading Celebration of Books!

Love you to come along and chat to me, or log onto the www.lovetoread.org website and joi

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12. National Year of Reading Storybook Challenge

National Year of Reading 2012, Como and Heathcote schools, Carpet Court Storybook challengThe Storybook Challenge sponsored by Carpet Court brought me as an ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012 to speak to gorgeous kids and great teachers at:-

Heathcote Public School and

Como Public School

My role:-

Read – Ships in the Field – the kids were so smart and gave fabulous insights such as the dog of war who became the flying dog, taking the hopes and dreams of refugees to their new countries.

Introduce the Storybook Challenge

Creative workshop.

The kids were enthusiastic and LOVED reading.

National Year of Reading 2012, www.love2read.org, Partner of SCBWI and NSW Writers centreesNational Year of Reading Como and Heathcote schools, reading Ships in the Field by Susanne Gervay illustrated by Anna Pignataro

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13. Human Rights with Patrician Brothers Schools & Human Rights Writer and Poet Antjie Krog

Patrician Brothers Blacktown Boys School with Susanne Gervay, Immigrant Journey with 'Ships in the Field'What a day – driving across Sydney to speak to teenage boys at Patrician Brothers Blacktown, ending with an evening with South African writer and poet Antjie Krog at the Australian Human Rights Centre, Law Faculty, University of NSW.


The boys were from so many countries from Tonga, India to Sudan sharing – insights about the immigrant journey. The boys were thoughtful, intelligent and insightful.

Antjie shares insights about racism and apartheid and its devastating effects on the psyche of South Africa today. Very moving.

Antjie is staying at The Hughenden and loving Paddington-Woollahra, enjoyed walking around Centennial Parklands and walked right into the city.

Diane MacDonald photographer, author and poet Antje Krog at Australian Human Rights Centre Law Faculty UNSW

Immigrant Journeys, Antiji Krog author with South African student at Australiam Human Rights Centre UNSW Law School

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14. LUV Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service – saving lives in the fires

Westpact Recue helicopter 003For 40 years the Westpac helicopters have been rescuing people from the bikie gang war in Milperra,  Sydney to Hobart yacht race to the fires now!

I was proud to celebrate them tonight at the Hordern Pavilion.

Gail Kelly CEO Westpac Group spoke compellingly and so did the head of the service.

Moved by the family of fisherman with 2 young boys whose boat went down and who were saved by the Westpac helicopter. YEAH!

We rocked to Daryl Braithwaite and had a brilliant night of giving and thanking them.

Westpact Recue helicopter 022


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15. Special time w/- Special Kids of Mr Gambia North for Book Week with thanks to Polycom

Floppy the dog, Nanna's real teeth, Susanne gervay's 'I Am jack', Susanne gervay's 'Always Jack' endorsed by Room to Read wwwroomtoread.org, welcoming kids of Mr Gambia North Public School The kids were excited as we connected – they’re in Mr Gambia and I’m thousands of kilometres away in Sydney.

 Hello to Robert who has a hair cut like my JACK in ‘I Am Jack’.

 Hello to Faith who knew all about beaches.

 Hello to Brodie who loved talking about everything.

 Hello to all the fantastic kids of the special class for kids with intellectual impairments at Mt Gambia North Primary    School in South Australia.

We had a great time today as I shared ‘I Am Jack’ with the kids.

They LOVED Floppy the dog and Nanna’s teeth from my books – ‘I Am Jack’, ‘Super Jack’ and ‘Always Jack’.

We talked about telling their Mum or Dad if someone calls them a name that hurts, like what happened to my Jack.

They promised to tell their parents if they were sad and in trouble!

Thankyou to Polycom for hosting the teleconferencing with the kids of Mt Gambia North.

  Literature Live! creative team of authors Aleesah Darlison, Laurine Croasdale, Jeni Mawter, Susanne Gervay and illustrator Nina Rycroft, POLYCOM conencted classrooms    This was a Literature Live! Connected Classroom event for Book Week. www.literaturelive.net

Susanne Gervay is a Room to Read Ambassador  www.roomtoread.com




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16. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

I'm going to be walking (or possibly limping - same difference) 5k on October 23rd as part of my tai chi club's team in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk run by the American Cancer Society.

See, I started taking tai chi class, and folks who take tai chi at my gym are automatically part of the tai chi club - it's kinda like Facebook, where someone just puts you in a group, only without all the annoying Facebook stuff that sometimes follows. Anyhoo, my friend Tess is the team leader for the club's team, "C Steps for a Cure". (A C-step is pretty much what it sounds like - your right foot makes a forward C, and your left a backwards one, as you swing your leg in and out while taking a step. Look, I don't know, okay?)

Only then Tess had to be in Florida for a month this summer as we were trying to get folks to join the team, and she's going to be back there for the month of October as well, so I became de facto team leader, which is why I make all the announcements and am in charge of the shirt orders and stuff.

Our team is, at present, on the small side - there are only 6 of us so far - and our donations are rather commensurate with that. I'm hoping that will change, of course - and I do have a few checks to enter online, so I've raised a bit more than my own $75 contribution. I'm hoping you guys will cheer me on - especially since this damned RA flare hasn't abated yet and I'm fixing to walk over 3 miles in about 3-1/2 weeks' time.

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17. PINK SUNDAY on Queen St. Supporting Breast Cancer Network ~ 16th October!!!!!!


Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Day, Queen Street Woollahra, 16 October in Queen Street, Susanne Gervay storytelling for Breast Cancer

A Celebration for All Children’s Activities Arts and

Crafts Information Stalls Trees of Life Pink Silhouettes

Prizes and Surprises Winners of Creative Art Exhibition

and Best Dressed Pink Window Display will be announced

FREE FUN FAMILY & FRIENDS ~ Come along ~16 October 11:00am-2:00pm
111 Queen Street & Dorhauer Lane, Woollahra KIDS & TEENS CREATIVE ART EXHIBITION
Celebrities with ~ 11:00am Official Opening by The Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP,
Storytelling with Susanne Gervay, Creative Art Activities with Cyndi Freiman,
Belly Dancer & DJ and ~SHE IS THE KING 
~Award winning Female Elvis Tribute Artist, Jacqueline Feilich
Come along and join in the Sunday fun and support Mums, Kids and Community.
18. Troubled Water by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

If you saw yesterday's post, then you know there's been a call for sweaters to be knit for penguins following an oil spill off the coast of New Zealand. The sweaters keep the birds warm and also prevent them from preening (and thereby ingesting globs of oil) while they wait their turns to be cleaned up.

Here in the U.S., last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico wreaked havoc on the environment, and still requires cleanup efforts. I was fortunate to have my poem, "Troubled Water", included in the anthology Breaking Waves: An Anthology for Gulf Coast Relief. In fact, it held pride of place as the final selection in the book - closing out an anthology that opened with a poem by Ursula Le Guin. I've been pleased to see the poem favorably mentioned in several reviews of the anthology, including this one by Helen Gallagher.

In light of the recent spill off New Zealand, I thought I'd share the poem here today. And in case you're wondering, the answer is "yes, you can still purchase a copy of the Breaking Waves e-book, which is available from Amazon in Kindle format, from Barnes & Noble for the Nook, and from the publisher, Book View Cafe for a mere $4.99 US. All proceeds go to Gulf Coast relief.

Troubled Water

by Kelly Ramsdell Fineman

"The first of the slick to reach the shores will not be the last."
Janet Ritz, The Environmentalist, 4/30/10

Long before St. Aidan's time,
ancient sailors cast their oil
on roiling seas to stay the waves.
No miracle, but science:
primitive, powerful as magic.

A modicum of oil could quell
a cresting swell, a thinning drop
enough to influence a distance
farther than the fingers
of its prismatic sheen.

Not more than a teaspoonful
calmed half-acre Clapham waves
for Benjamin Franklin, noted inventor,
Renaissance man. Reconnaissance now
cannot quantify the effect.

Two billion plus teaspoons of oil
gush daily into Gulf water,
quelling wildlife, not waves;
stopping sea life, not storms;
troubling water, industry, conscience.

Worried water – a geyser spews.
Gobbets of gull-coating crude expands in the sea.
Disturbed water – methane chokes oxygen.
Desperate dead zones nothing can survive.
Troubled water – upsetting the balance.

Economy and populace washed-out as wetlands,
unsteady as shifting beach sand.
St. Aidan's cruet will not quiet this squall;
St. Jude, he of desperate causes, waits offstage,
wringing his hands.

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19. Knitters Wanted

Dudes, how could I not pass along this Public Service Announcement once I knew about it? See, there was an oil spill off New Zealand, in a place where there are lots of penguins.

Specifically, baby penguins, who need warmth.

Specifically, they need sweaters. Or, if you prefer, jumpers.

You can read the entire call for action here at gothamist, complete with links to news articles, proof that the call for sweaters is real, and instructions on how to knit the sweaters/jumpers and where to send them.

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20. Elohim ~ hope for our children with Susi Prescott’s ‘The Poet, The Teacher and The Traveller’ ~

Elohim - 24.jpg

Elohim means God of Israel, a small Christian school sitting precariously in the dust of the shanty slums towns on the outskirts of Arequippa Peru.

Susanne Gervay launching Susi Prescott's 'The Poet, The Teacher and The Travello', Elohim School Arequippa PeruSusi Prescott, an Australian teacher, writer, mother, went in search of meaning, leaving Australia when her marriage broke down after 30 years. 

Enduring harsh conditions, she taught in the SOS orphanages in Nepal, volunteered for Abana a small charity establishing a school in Rwanda. No water, electricity, working in mud huts, Susi taught, sang, brought hope to the children… and then she embarked on the greatest journey of her life.  Elohim.

The children of the Peruvian shanty towns live without sanitation, limited water, no education, on piles of garbage and rocks, in a world of abuse, alcoholism and violence.

Susi  found her calling – working with these children, offering hope and education in this little shanty school.

Elohim’s founder Rose Gil Huaman was born to desperate poverty, her mother illiterate, her father a brutal alcoholic, her home a stone hut with no water of sanitation. She has dedicated her life to giving hope to the children of the dust through creating a haven, a school, called Elohim.

Patricia Roberts Billig an Arequipenan poet also dedicated her life to the children and people offering spirtuality and learning.

I was honoured to launch Susi Prescott’s book ‘The Poet, The Teacher and The Traveller’ in Sydney – about these 3 remarkable women and Elohim.

Rosa the teacher, Patricia Roberts Billig the poet and Susi Prescott the teacher.

Susanne Gervay launches Susi Prescott's book 'The Poet, The Teacher and The Traveller'', Elohim Arequipa Peru, Jamie and Nadia at launch

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21. Making A Difference~ Room to Read, NSW Writers Centre, National Year of Reading, Books in Homes

Books in Homes taking books to indigenous and disadvantage children,Room to Read bringing literacy to children in the develop worldMaking A Difference, Ships in the Field Ships by Susanne Gervay illustrated by Anna Pignataro

I LOVE being an author.

It gives me the pleasure of Making a Difference for our kids, families, community.

I’ve just updated my website and these are organisations I love and work with:-


National Year of Reading – www.love2read.org.au

    Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People – www.monkeybaa.com.au

    Cancer Council – www.cancercouncil.com.au

    Life Education –  www.lifeeducation.org.au/

    The Alannah & Madeline Foundation – www.amf.org.au

    Room to Read – www.roomtoread.org

    NSW Writers Centre – www.nswwc.org.au

    Books in Homes – www.biha.com.au

    May Gibbs Trust Fellowship – www.maygibbs.org.au

    Australia Day Ambassador – www.australiaday.com.au/ambassadors

    The Hughenden Arts & Literary Hotel – www.thehughenden.com.au

National year of Reading 2012, Susanne Gervay Ambassador of The National Year of reading, wwwlove2read.orgRoom to Read endorses Susanne Gervay's 'I AM JACK' www.roomtoread.
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22. Books in Homes with Plunkett Street Public School Sydney ~ National Year of Reading

Plunkett Street Public School, Books in Homes, Susanne Gervay Role Model author for Books in Homes

Plunkett Street Public School, Books in Homes, Susanne Gervay Role Model author for Books in Homes


This was one of the special experiences as an author. The privilege of going to this small inner city school in the heart of the Housing Commission was inspiring.

Plunkett Street Public School, Role Model Susanne Gervay for Books in Homes giving booksThe amazing principal Mr Moran has brought community, teachers, children together in an environment of learning and love. Every child was celebrated. Every teacher was celebrated. Every community supporter was celebrated.

Police officers, the pastor from the local Baptist Church, Head of Distance Education, Macquarie Bank – everyone from local people to corporates were there contibuting to these young people’s future.

As a role model author for Books in Homes, I had the pleasure of handing out books to the children so that reading would be part of their lives.

As an Ambassador for the National Year of Reading, I had the opportunity to share books. It was my pleasure to donate a class set of ‘I AM JACK’ to the school.

Thankyou Plunkett Street Public School.

Susanne Gervay Ambassador for National Year of Reading at Plunkett Street Public School

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23. Standing Ovation for Australia Day Address by Neurosurgeon Professor Charlie Teo

Welcome to Country by Clarence Slockee and Matthew Doyle at Australia Day Address 2012 I was privleged to hear Professor Charlie Teo give the Australia Day Address at the Conservatorium of Music  in Sydney.

‘I would like to see this Australia Day as a turning point.

I want my fellow Australians, those who were born here and those who have immigrated here, to pause and think of the lives that have been sacrificed for what we take for granted today.

I want everyone who finds themselves angry and intolerant to think first about the misfortunes of those who are less fortunate . . . such as those with cancer.

I want anyone who has come from another country to embrace the Australian way of life, it has served us well.

I want all Australians to see how immigrants have contributed to our nation and to appreciate that a rich and prosperous country such as ours has a moral and global responsibility to share our resources.

Susanne Gervay Proud to be an Australia Day Ambassador,Finally, I want to thank Australians for giving me professional and personal fulfilment, for believing in me when some of my colleagues didn’t, for seeing a Chinaman as an Aussie, not as a foreigner and for this wonderful opportunity to address the greatest nation in the world.’

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/australia-day-2012-address-full-speech-20120123-1qdh9.html#ixzz1kHbJA539


Australia Day Address 2012 Associate Professor Charles Teo AM neurosurgeonAustralia Day Address 2012, Helen Alker artist, Australia Day Ambassador Susanne GervayGeraldine Doogue AO ABC Radio personality welcome to Australia Day Address 2012

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24. John Williamson, Kate Richie, Australia Day Ambassadors Launch Australia Day 2012

Australia Day launch 2012, Seagull by Damian Madden NSW, Australia Post Living photographThe Australia Day launch at Darling Harbour was emotional as John Williamson country songwriter singer sang ‘True Blue’.

Actor Kate Richie was MC and spoke about her Australia as a girl from Campbelltown in Sydney, who grew up on Home and way at Palm Beach.

The Australia Post Living Photographs of Australia were powerful, funny, warm, quirky and captured Australia.

Australia Day Ambassadors were there to share their experiences before they headed off across the country.

I’ll be flying to beautiful Port Stephens to give an Australia Day Address there and to participate in the
Blessing of the Fleet.

David Williamson song writer singer at Australia Day launch Darling Harbour Sydney
Australia Day Ambassador artist and ABC Arts interviewer Yianni Johns, Australia Day Ambassador entertainer Maria VenutiSusanne Gervay Australia Day Ambassador, Australia Day Launch 2012, Photo Little Wonders by Ann Clarke SA

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25. Jean Genies, Gosford High School Choir, National Year of Reading

Jean Genies launch, Gosford Library initiative,The National Year of reading 2012, Ambassadors Susanne Gervay and Chris Cheng  launched Jean Genies, Gosford LibraryAs Ambassadors for the National Year of Reading, Christopher Cheng and I launched Jean Genies an Gosford Library initiative supporting teen reading across Australia and beyond.

Jeans are decorated by young people from libraries and this year the jeans will be going to Peru and Slovakia this year.

The fantastic librarians Claire Stuckey and Sharon Dalgleish initiated this Jean Genies celebration of books. It’s a natural partner with the National Year of Reading.

ABC radio Central Coast supports both the National year of Reading and Jean Genies – thankyou to Scott Levi. Loved our interview and sharing ‘Ships in the Field’ with the Central Coast.


Special hello to the Adventist School who I spoke to.

Special hello to the wonderful Gosford High School Choir who moved me deeply with their voices and generosity in supporting reading and community.

Special hello to the wonderful Gosford Library.

National Year of Reading 2012 wwwlove2read.org, ambassadors Christopher Cheng and Susanne Gervay

Susanne Gervay speaking to the Adventist School at Gosford Library Erina, for Jean Genies launch, as a National Year of Reading evenGosford High School Choir, Jean Genies launch at Erina Library, National year of Reading evenSharon Dalgleish and Su
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