I am just back from a very much-needed break. It has been a busy, busy year and many of my non-work commitments have been forced to take a back seat. (I might have even put some of them in the boot!)
For my holiday I decided to visit the one and only Australia state I’d never seen – Tasmania. I did not have much time, so I stayed around Hobart. I did get to Port Arthur, MONA and managed to check out the wonderful view from Mount Wellington (you can see photos on Insta). It is no secret that it’s a stunning island and I am already planning my return!
Back in Melbourne and inspired by the crisp, dry Tasmanian air I am pleased to publish a new TENANT profile celebrating the committed work of Melbourne local, Alicja Wojcik.
Alicja was introduced to me by Anna Maria Rose, a Sydney based freelance journalist who penned her profile interview for TENANT.
I hope you enjoy learning about another inspiring Melburnian as much as I did. (Thanks Anna!)
Advanced Mathematician and former international model Alicja Wojcik, 26, balances working for a global financial services organisation while running her own charity foundation.
Tomorrow Foundation, a charity that supports disadvantaged children in Australia and around the globe, is a project close to Wojcik’s heart.
“I know how it feels to not have much,” Wojcik says.
Growing up in Melbourne as the child of Polish immigrants taught her about the feeling of having little money and how to deal with cultural differences.
Coming from such a disadvantaged background motivated Wojcik to work on a successful career in order to provide other children with better chances compared to her own.
Today, she has travelled the world as an international model, has finished two science degrees, works for a global financial services institution and runs her own increasingly successful charity foundation.
She explains how modelling was an opportunity for her to leave Melbourne, to become independent and to earn her own money.
When she was 17, she did her first modelling job for Vice Magazine, which was soon followed by a campaign for an international fashion label.
Since then Wojcik worked and lived in Milan, Athens, London, Hong Kong and Tokyo.
After spending two years overseas, she settled back in Australia to finalise her studies and start her charity project.
“I have always done volunteer work with children,” Wojcik says. “I ended up thinking: ‘Why not starting up something myself?’”
She founded Tomorrow Foundation in June 2012. The foundation includes a team of 12 and is running multiple projects, including an orphanage in Uganda as well as a support program for refugee children in Melbourne.
“Recently we became recognised as a public benevolent institution by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission and as a result were granted Tax Deductible Status by the Australian Taxation Office,” Wojcik says.
“As a result we can move forward with plans of running a standalone program that will involve multiple schools and at our new centre in early 2016.
“At the moment we all are focused on working through a pre-opening strategy and building the team for this.”
Volunteering weekly for 35 to 40 hours at the foundation would be a full-time job for most people.
However, Wojcik also works three days a week as a Risk Analyst and until recently still undertook various modelling jobs.
“The modelling gave me lots of contacts in the media industry, which has helped me with my work with the foundation,” she says.“Each job that I have done has helped me in a way for the other jobs.”
Wojcik ‘s current focus is to solidify Tomorrow Foundation as a sustainable organisation in order to increase its impact.
“Most of the kids and their families in involved with the Tomorrow Foundation don’t have much money, have little community and their English isn’t very good,” she says.
“We want to create a centre where they can meet people who are going through the same experiences and support one another.”
While successfully managing the balancing act of multiple occupations, Wojcik continues to achieve her goals to help children and make the world a better place.
Thanks Anna and Alcja – great to learn about what you do.
For more information on Tomorrow Foundation, or to get involved visit: http://www.tomorrowfoundation.org.au.
Keep your eye out for a collaboration between the foundation and Australian artist David Bromley in 2016. The event, which will launch mid year, will invite children to paint their childhood dreams.