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Young hearts run free

Emma Irvine-Collins at her Haiti stall. Photo by Lesley Irvine

IN THE inner-Brisbane congregation of Trinity Wilston Uniting Church there is an exciting undercurrent of supporting those
who have a passion for social justice.

Recently, two of the congregation's youngest members staged campaigns to raise funds for worthy causes and minister,

Rev Sue Pickering, couldn't be prouder.

Emma Irvine-Collins was 10 when she started a craft stall at the church to raise money for the people of Haiti.

"I saw on the news what had happened to Haiti and I thought it was very bad and I wanted to do something," said the now 12-year-old. "I decided that once a month

I would have a stall for Haiti at my church. I really like art and making things and also baking so I did all three things."

Over 12 months, through her persistence and the support of the congregation, $1000 was raised for World Vision's Haiti appeal.

She was very appreciative of the support and generosity of congregation members and her family.

"They made me feel that what I was doing was very worthwhile."

"I think it was because since there are quite a few older people in the congregation they wanted to support younger people like me."

Ms Pickering, said watching Emma's determination and conviction was "phenomenal".

"She committed to it for a full year.

She made PowerPoints for the service to remind people that Emma's Haiti stall was on.

"Then Caitlin (7 at the time) saw what Emma was doing and said to her mum, 'Can I do something to raise money for the
poor people?'

"So four times over three months she rocked up with her violin and set up as a busker in the morning tea and raised $307
for the Refugee Claimant Centre.

"It goes to show that we should never underestimate what one act can do."

Ms Pickering said supporting people with ideas was essential.

"If we don't support these acts of kindness and calling for social justice now, that is where we start to encourage the apathy of 'what's the point?'

"I think kids have this natural, inbuilt ability for compassion.

"Emma kept Haiti on people's radar for a whole year, when it was well past the newsworthy status.

"Caitlin stood there with her violin and played with a smile on her face for the Refugee Claimant Centre.

This is a 7-year-old who was breaking down the barriers around speaking about refugees.

"This is not about the future of our church; this is about the future of our society and working together for peace."

Photo : Emma Irvine-Collins at her Haiti stall. Photo by Lesley Irvine