August 9, 2017

Hope thrives here.

From my desk I can see down the corridor to the new Spectrum reception on Level 5, in the Hume City Hub.  It is bright yellow, warm and welcoming.  There are people quietly, politely conversing amongst themselves while settling onto chairs, comfortable couches and vibrant cushions.  There is worry in their eyes, but patience prevails.

It’s what is known as Intake Day. It’s our welcome moment. Spectrum’s “Do Drop In”.  We welcome people from newly arrived refugee backgrounds to come and meet us for the first time, to sit with one of our staff, and establish what they need, and start on a journey toward helping them feel at home in Australia.

In reception, Spectrum team members calmly weave their way, smiling easily, leaning forward to properly hear, touch an elbow, marvel at a beautiful new life, wink at a little one shyly hiding.   Someone disappears to a store room and suddenly a car seat appears, and an armful of clothing or blankets or food, is respectfully shared. Our people guide families to our new meeting rooms, with expansive views of our beautiful Melbourne and mountain horizons.  We hope the outlook serves to lift spirits and see new possibilities.

There is laughter too; a sweet little boy whizzes off, only to skid to a stop in front of the photocopier, eyes wide with wonder as the paper spits out. And now he is playing hide and seek under my desk, with simple joy, checking in with Mum, not really wanting to get too far, but happily, tentatively testing his wings too.  At least 3 different languages can be heard in any given second.  There is a quiet hum of optimism, shoulders that square just a little more, chins lift a little higher, than when they arrive.  More chairs are pulled out, more people arrive, tea is served, more solutions are created.  Knowledgeable, resourceful, compassionate humans finding ways to welcome.  Hope thrives here.

By Natalie Dillon, Spectrum Marketing and Communications Manager