600 celebrate at Foundation House
The Foundation House community welcomed almost 600 guests to its End of Year Celebration on December 13. The event was attended by clients from over 35 refugee communities, members, colleagues in the refugee sector, supporters and staff. We were also delighted that Foundation House patrons David and Jan de Kretser joined us for the celebration.
CEO Paris Aristotle congratulated the Foundation House team on a year of service to refugee and asylum seeker communities in Victoria saying that “staff consistently rise to the challenges presented to them in a complex environment and provide highly professional support and advocacy to all of our clients”. Paris spoke of the challenges of working with many newly arrived clients from Syria and Iraq and of the agency’s growth to the north of Melbourne, with a new office in Dallas opening in 2017.
Keynote speaker, Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley MP, said “Foundation House services have lead the way in restoring the health and wellbeing of people from refugee backgrounds by welcoming them to our community – helping them through the recovery from torture and abuse and creating safe places for people to share their stories with dignity and respect”.
Paris Aristotle, together with Minister Foley led the presentation of awards to recipients of the Quentin Buckle Study Grants and the Ian McKenzie Endeavour Grant. The grants honour Founding Board Member, the late Quentin Buckle and Board Member, the late Ian McKenzie (OAM).
At the conclusion of formal proceedings, guests enjoyed food catered by social enterprises Catering ASRC (Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) and Sorghum Sisters. Younger guests loved face painting and a performance by magician Anthony de Masi (aka “Magic Tony”). Many danced the warm summery night away to the tunes of Alariiya.