Welcome to the first edition of Building Better Lives Together for 2021.

A corporate woman in profile
Acting Executive Director, Lucia Boxelaar

As we leave behind the extraordinary year that was 2020 and look to the year ahead, there are many achievements to be proud of, thanks to your support, and reasons to be hopeful for a brighter future.

We also acknowledge the departure of Conny Lenneberg, our Executive Director, who has stepped down from her role after three years of wonderful service to BSL, and we thank her for the passion, commitment and visionary leadership which has inspired so many of us.

As we enter 2021, we cannot forget about those in our communities that will face further hardship as the long- term impacts of the COVID-19 crisis continue to unfold.

The COVID-led recession has dealt a severe blow to youth unemployment and will have a long-term impact on young Australians for years to come.

This March, money raised will go towards our Education First Youth Foyers Program, a program that was developed to directly address those young people that find themselves particularly vulnerable and can’t live at home, assisting them with living independently and building a positive future for themselves through education and employment.

In this edition, we are also celebrating International Women’s Day and you will read some heart-warming and inspiring stories about some of the incredible women in BSL’s 90-year history as well as our programs and their participants that have made positive changes in their lives in the face of adversity.

You will read about the resilience of Laura, a young lady who has faced immense challenges at such a young age, experiencing family conflict and homelessness – but through the EFY Foyers Program – she is striving to overcome her circumstances and create a better future for herself.

Also featured is our Stepping Stones Program that offers training, mentoring and support to help women from refugee, migrant and asylum seeker backgrounds expand their business skills and increase their participation in business and the community.

Finally, we have shared the inspiring achievements of key women in BSL’s history, who have challenged inequity and poverty, and against the odds have helped create a more inclusive and compassionate society.

As we look to the year ahead, our focus at BSL will be working with those people in our community that are facing severe hardship and disadvantage to ensure they have the same opportunities as everyone and the resources and tools to empower them to rebuild their lives.

I want to thank you for your continued support throughout such challenging times. Without the compassion and commitment of people like you, our work wouldn’t be possible.

I wish you all a healthy and happy year ahead with your loved ones.

Lucia Boxelaar
Acting Executive Director, Brotherhood of St. Laurence