Jasmine Penman (2016) appointed to the Board of Friends for Good

While young alumni Jasmine Penman’s (2016) Ormond years are not so far behind her, she is already blazing a trail in the arts, and more recently, the not-for-profit sector. While she arrived at Ormond thinking a Juris Doctor and career in law was her path, her experience at College and years since have put her on an entirely new trajectory.

‘I have always had a love of art…of museums, exhibition, ancient and contemporary art, but coming out of school, I didn’t consider it as a career path,’ Jasmine says.

‘When I was at Ormond, I had a Latin tutor who was so nurturing and really encouraged me to think about what I actually wanted to do. Those discussions really got me thinking about the other possibilities, and I really benefited from them.’

After completing her Bachelor of Arts, Jasmine went on to complete a Master of Art Curatorship, and earlier in the year commenced a job at Discordia Gallery in Melbourne.

But with work in the gallery slightly scuttled by the impacts of the pandemic, Jasmine has turned some of her attention towards volunteering efforts, and recently took up a Board position with Friends for Good, an Australian charity working in the loneliness space. Friends for Good delivers FriendLine, a phone and online chat service for anyone who needs to reconnect or just wants a chat.

‘At the start of the pandemic, I was so unprepared to even have a conversation about loneliness,’ Jasmine says.

‘I was a 23-year-old person living alone, all of a sudden having no one in my circle and not being able to see people. In hindsight I was really struggling in that moment and I didn’t know how to talk about it.’

‘Once we got out of that lockdown, I had a lot of time to think about what I felt in those initial months. It made me realise there are probably so many other people feeling far worse and it was all stemming from this feeling of isolation and loneliness.’

Galvanised by a desire to help, Jasmine started looking into organisations working specifically in the loneliness space, which is how she came across Friends for Good.

‘What’s different about FriendLine is that it is a preventative service, rather than a crisis line,’ she says.

‘It’s tapping into those feelings of loneliness which have really been exacerbated by the pandemic. From my own experience it’s something I’ve become very passionate about, so I was super keen to get involved in whatever way I could.’

After spending some time getting to know the organisation’s CEO, Jasmine applied for a vacant Board position, with oversight of the fundraising portfolio.

‘Demand has been significantly increasing over the past few months due to the stress of the ongoing lockdown, which is why fundraising has become really important for us,’ she says.

‘Last month we missed 10,000 calls, while just a few months ago in March we only missed 196. Every FriendLine call costs just $2, so even a small donation has the potential to make a big difference.’

FriendLine is a national support line delivered by Friends for Good, a registered charity. If you would like to find out more or make a donation, visit https://friendsforgood.org.au/.

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