CHO – an example of the butterfly effect


‘The butterfly effect’ is a term that is used to describe the way that small differences can have big impacts further down the track – the flapping of a butterfly’s wings can help to bring about a hurricane is the classic example. There is a lot of science about this (see ), but the idea is interesting to me in emphasizing the potential importance of small actions. Perhaps we have more impact than we think with acts of kindness and efforts to create change.

In recent months a new group has formed in Noarlunga. It has come about as a response to cuts to community health services around the state, which have resulted in reductions in programs and activities that help us to stay healthy and connected. This has been hard for many people, so it is exciting to report that Community Health Onkaparinga (CHO) has been established.

The group is very new, but we have been pretty active, and have had an exciting time in the past few months and particularly the past few weeks since we became incorporated.

We have been holding monthly community dinners for any interested people to attend. They are great fun, with delicious food and opportunities to talk about and plan for activities we want to do. We also held our first community program recently – a Mental Health First Aid training program facilitated by Teresa, who lives in the area and used to run these programs in health before the cuts (she is a nurse). It was very well attended and supported by one of the Rotary Clubs and a local church who provided the venue and catered for the group. We have an office space very generously provided by another local church, and just this week we have had two social work students start working for CHO on their student placements. It has been very exciting to welcome them and we are so looking forward to working with Imogen and Ki over the coming few months. I hope to have them put up a post or two on this blog while they are with us.

There has been a lot of support for the group so far – it seems to be something that makes sense to people. We hope that it will make a difference locally, and provide a place for us all to meet and explore and act on our passions and concerns. We want to make our neighbourhood even more a place where people are cared about, where they can take action on what interests or concerns them and where they can get help when times are hard.

It is not a big thing at this stage, but hopefully it will have a ‘butterfly effect’ down the track. We didn’t ever talk about this when we were starting up the group (or not that I remember), but we did talk about the symbolism of butterflies, those amazing, strong beings which transform from grubs into vibrant and beautiful creatures that can fly. Our initials, CHO, are a reflection of all this – CHO is the Japanses word for butterfly.

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5 Responses to CHO – an example of the butterfly effect

  1. Mandy says:

    Fantastic news that it is up and going Elizabeth, Please add me to the mailing list, Mandy x x

  2. Richard Schirmer says:

    Just on the small acts of kindness creating great change, it brought to mind a quote I read today from Mother Teresa of Calcutta (another Teresa) who said: “God has identified with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless; hunger, not only for bread, but for love, for care, to be somebody to someone; nakedness, not of clothing only, but nakedness of that compassion that very few people give to the unknown; homelessness, not only for a shelter made of stone, but that homelessness that comes from having no one to call your own.” I dare say her living her life out of this quote through countless small acts of kindness on the streets of Calcutta has created much significant change for countless people. Not saying that we as CHO will necesarily create anywhere near the impact as the work of the sisters of mercy in Calcutta but certainly we are in the same ballpark of what we are trying to acheive in Onkaparinga and I find this quote an inspiration for the work we have in front of us, hopefully well into the distant future.

    • Good thoughts Richard, and good to have inspiration from those who have gone before. I hope we can work out easier ways for people to get a hand with things that are not big, but are a challenge – a lift to an appointment, or help in the garden, or support with a challenge. I find that it is often small challenges that are hard, especially for folk who are a bit isolated. Certainly asking for small things can be a challenge for me…

  3. Pingback: Wonders of tears – reaching out for help | Stories of buttons and bread

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