‘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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect ), 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.