Help Literacy Hub

Josh’s story

Josh and his young family had just moved to a new country town.

His wife had some mental health issues that meant her ability to care for their children when under stress was unpredictable. He had 3 children under the age of 6 – and he was about to leave for a 3 week stint away for work.

He was scared for his children and terrified his wife would not be able to cope in this new place with no one to call on if she was having a bad day.

Josh contacted me in a panic. He needed to find people to help him….

But the Gather My Crew platform connects people in need of help to the support they have in their own community. It coordinates friends, family and neighbours to provide meaningful and practical help. What do you do if you don’t have this support network?

I suggested to him that – given his situation – his new street represented the fastest way to build community and ‘gather a crew’ of people who could help out while he was away. He had nothing to lose from knocking on the doors of his neighbours, explaining his situation, and asking these people if they could step up to help his family for the next few weeks…

In a country like Australia, where we are often ashamed to show vulnerability and ask for the help we need, this is exactly what this gorgeous, desperate, brave father and husband did.

He knocked on 18 doors in his street that night. When people answered he introduced himself, explained his situation, and asked for help.

Two hours later he returned back home… with a new community and ‘support crew’ he had not even realised was there.

He had met…

  • 15 lovely people who offered to help his family
  • 8 who signed up to become part of his ‘support crew’ via Gather My Crew
  • 3 ‘hidden angels’ who followed him home to meet his wife and talk about exactly what they could do to help

From this single act of wild bravery, he and his family found their new community and the help they needed to get through the next few weeks.

While all 15 people he met helped out in a range of ways while he was away – taking out the bins, mowing the lawns, popping over for a chat, and even cleaning the gutters – the three women who came over to introduce themselves to his wife looked after his family like they were their own.

They were all grandmothers. They all had families that had moved away. They were all looking for the connection and community that came with engaging with this young family.

These women had been waiting for people to shower their love on… and, over the next weeks, they cooked, talked and played. They took his wife and the kids down to the local shops and introduced them around. They welcomed them into their sewing circle and bridge club.

These strangers became more than a ‘support crew’… they became part of the family. And the benefits of this were felt by all involved.

Josh contacted me while he was away with an update… sharing tales of new adventures for the kids and new friends for his wife. He was so thankful that he had been encouraged to knock on the doors of his neighbours, to share his vulnerability and to ask them for help. It had been completely life changing.

In return, I am thankful that people like him exist in the world. People that are brave enough to do what needs to be done when things get really desperate.

And to those wonderful women who opened up their hearts and lives to this young mum and her 3 daughters… what can we say? You are the living example of humanity and community. ❤❤❤

If you have a story to share about when you needed to reach out for help, we would love to hear from you. Help us to break the stigma around asking for help. Join the movement.

*Image and name changed at users request

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