What Brings People Together?

Our September Formal Dinner guest speaker was Romy Wolman, a disability advocate and the Founder/Executive Director of One&All, an inclusive, holistic, and creative hub for mixed abilities and mental health. As she spoke, we learned about how her daughter Milla, born with cerebral palsy, inspired her to found Single Sock Solution, an all-abilities weaving initiative which won the People’s Choice Award at Jumpstart Shark Tank. While she struggles to do some other things with her hands, Milla can weave, and so instead of letting single socks (and other reject clothes) go to landfill, the Single Sock Solution was born for people of all abilities to weave them into collaborative art pieces such as rugs and wall hangings, while authentically connecting with one another.

The need for more fun and inclusive spaces like this in Sydney for people like Milla was clear. So today, the Single Sock Solution has blossomed from one sustainable weaving workshop into 11 creative engagement, movement, and mindfulness workshops that run weekly at One&All Hub, with inclusion at the core. One&All recognises how difference is not a weakness, but a strength, and it caters to this by providing workshops such as ceramics, tai chi, sound healing, dancing, gardening, and coffee making, complemented with evening social parties and social enterprise markets, which are open to adults of all abilities.

One of Romy’s points that really resonated with me were the three things that she found that could bring people together, regardless of age or ability. These were community, quality relationships, and creative engagement. Both Single Sock Solution and One&All truly display these qualities and have helped bring many people together. These three things also made me think of living at Mandelbaum, especially about how earlier in the evening, we enjoyed a lovely piano performance by Kiri of her own arrangement of “Say You Won’t Let Go” by James Arthur to farewell a long-time resident, Jonathan, who will be going off to Scotland on exchange. I thought that this truly displayed the spirit of Mandelbaum, and was a fitting farewell for such a valued resident.

We are thankful to everyone who helped make this formal dinner a success, and especially so to Romy for sharing her wisdom with our residents, and wish her all the best with One&All!

Article by: Kacy Zhou, Mandelbaum House resident

Credit for the photos: Zoë Davis, Mandelbaum House resident