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August President's Message

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Winter in July and August still seems odd, even after 3 years here.  Does it ever get to be normal?  Change seems to be a constant part of the expat life no matter how long you've been here.  Many of us try to keep one foot in two different hemispheres.  Trying to keep what traditions you can, learning new ones, or leaving some traditions behind altogether.  Unless you grew up in two worlds, it's difficult for others, even our families, to understand.  AWA Members have always understood that.  The AWA began as a small group of American women who not only shared a passion for playing bridge, but also a desire to make a positive impact and give back to their adopted communities through fund-raising for the Royal Children's Hospital.  

Today, many Members still share those ideals.  Even now, we share similar experiences.  Whether you are here short-term or long-term, each path winds through many similar crossroads.  At any point of our experience, we find ourselves missing things, places or people from 'back home,' or realise the distance from the lives we used to lead cannot always be fixed by video calls or emails.  One of our greatest strengths is how our Members support each other.  It is the most enduring tradition we have as AWA Members.  It is what we do for each other that makes us different.  Through AWA's various monthly group activities and events, we provide a way to meet, share and encourage each other to face the challenges that come with being an expat no matter how long we are here.  Our Members become our extended family or a ready group of supportive friends that remind us we are not alone.  

AWA Membership is also a wonderful way to make an impact in our community.  We began as an Auxiliary and have continued that tradition for more than 87 years.  We value our relationship with the RCH and will continue to offer Volunteer/fund-raising options to AWA Members as it is also a valued tradition. Volunteering is not a requirement of Membership any more.  We merely ask for a donation if you choose not to participate.  When I first joined 3 years ago, new Members were required to pay an additional $35 on top of the $25 Administration Fee and $75 Annual Membership fee.  As this is a volunteer organisation, the Board wanted our Members to have the option, not the requirement.  The new requirements from the RCH Foundation to volunteer are necessary due to Victorian regulation changes.  Having the National Police Check and the Working with Children Check just make sense anyway and we even offer a way to obtain those checks for free.  They used to cost $60 for both.  We've actually made it easier and at no cost to our Members if you choose to volunteer.  

If you have questions, comments, opinions or ideas to enhance the AWA experience, we would love to hear from you.  Again, we are a volunteer organisation, our Board Members are volunteers as well.  We all want the AWA to continues to be a vibrant community that meets the needs of our Members.  We encourage your participation.  

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