06 Jun 2017
When James Baudzus from Macquarie's Financial Management Group in Sydney was looking to volunteer his time for a cause that resonated with him a few years ago, he encountered Wings of Hope, a charity which helps people bereaved by suicide.
James was impressed with its ‘postvention’ model, an intervention conducted after the loss of a loved one. Given many people affected by suicide, especially young people, can be at an increased risk of harm following their loss, Wings of Hope provides support at this time in the form of education, resources and events. To sustain the charity’s operations, James has volunteered as its grants and funding coordinator over the past three years, researching grant opportunities and completing applications on its behalf.
“We engage with a number of corporate and public entities which provide funds for community projects and while inherently we can’t always be successful, I feel that we have made some significant progress over the past few years,” James says.
Wings of Hope’s signature event is a Remembrance Day initiative, which enables people bereaved by suicide to remember their loved ones.
“We currently run a Remembrance Day gathering in Sydney, but we are looking to branch out to Melbourne and also the Hunter Valley as we know people in these regions would benefit from such an event,” James says.
“I believe this is an important cause because of the impact it has on families and the wider community - many areas of Australia have incidence of suicide well above the global average.”
Wings of Hope also aspires to place a children’s book called “The Red Chocolate Elephant’, written by Dr Diana Sands, in every school in Australia. This would be a valuable addition to school libraries, James believes, because it would help children who are bereaved by suicide to begin their healing journey.
James’ volunteer work with Wings of Hope was recognised by the Macquarie Group Foundation with a $2,000 donation to the charity, as part of Macquarie’s 2017 Staff in the Community Awards.
Image caption: James Baudzus sitting at the end on the right and the Wings of Hope management committee at one of their regular meetings.