EV Foundation

Foundation Work: Transforming Lives

Today is superhero day and, whilst we may all have a favourite fantasy superhero such as Ironman, Batman, Thor, Wonderwoman etc, we would like to use today as an opportunity to highlight the work of a local superhero.  One without a cape or extraordinary superpowers other than a great passion to help others.  And, whilst superhero is a title that she does not like, (nor in fact any other title which would adequately describe the amazing work which she does for the local community), we are sure that all those hundreds of people who receive help from her and the EV Foundation would say otherwise. We have known Nicole Jones, founder of the EV Foundation since our days in primary school.  Now 44 and proud mum of two children (a boy aged 22 and a girl aged 15) Nicole recently gave up her job in finance after 23  years to pursue her dream to dedicate herself entirely to the work of the EV Foundation.  Having said this, Nicole has always given her all to charity work having worked in effect two full-time jobs for many years. Why Charity Work? Nicole has five siblings in what is a very close-knit family.  Through having such a large family she knows first hand the financial hardships which some families go through.  This financial hardship is especially noticeable through the teenage years. This is when you start to realise what other families may have that yours cannot afford.  It is precisely for this reason that Nicole left school at 15 in order to work and help support her family.   In 2003, Nicole started working as a youth worker. This experience really opened her eyes to the lack of basic resources in some members of the local community.  She would see children and young adults coming to the youth club lacking such basics as adequate clothing or shoes. This was in effect the start of her journey towards the setting up of the EV Foundation.  During this time she built up a close relationship with the youth club users and the community.  She would ask friends and family for donations of clothing, food and furniture in order to help these youngsters out wherever she could. Crossroads After working both in finance and as a part time youth worker for 10 years Nicole found she was at a crossroads.  Leaving youth work to concentrate on her full time job and family, she could either forget about the great need she had seen first hand or find a new way in which to help. Using Facebook one Christmas Nicole asked friends and family for help to be able to support four local families.  Receiving food donations at this time, each family received three or four bags of food.  This grew at a staggering rate.  The second appeal helped 12 families, then 25, 40 and last year 130 odd families receiving help. Nicole knows that when people receive a helping hand, the right tools and support they are able to succeed.  You do not need to come from a wealthy family.  Instead, you need someone to believe in you, to push you and to bring out the best in you.  This is one of the primary roles of the Foundation and has led to hundreds of success stories.  Helping those who sometimes receive no other help to feel good about themselves.  To grow in confidence and come out from negative mindsets or life habits and become the people they The Foundation’s Day To Day Work Nicole carries two phones with her.  One is her personal phone and one which is exclusively for Foundation work.   Waking up early every day, Nicole finds at least 20 odd work-related WhatsApp messages on each phone.  Another 20 messenger messages and emails. She works through the messages and emails early on and then moves on to meetings and interventions.   Nicole will meet with families, government officials, agencies, NGOs on a daily basis and there are always at least 2-3 meetings a day, sometimes of around 2.5-3 hours each!   Mentally, Emotionally and Physically Taxing These meetings are extremely draining because, whether she is meeting someone who has something to give her, or she is trying to establish what the person needs, Nicole gives each meeting her all.   Draining also because she experiences a lot of negativity in order to achieve the final beautiful result.  Sitting with those she helps, Nicole immerses herself fully in what that person is going through in order to understand exactly what they need.   By getting to know these families personally Nicole can decide whom to help, in what manner and for how long.  Nicole says “Whilst it may seem to those on the outside that a particular family is in need of help, and of course, whilst on paper it may be true that they don’t have money for food, what we on the outside may not be aware of is that they do not have food because that money which they do have is not spent wisely.  Money may be spent on drugs, socialising, holidays and the like”.  As such, it is a major part of Nicole’s job to make sure that donations are put to use with families who are genuinely in need. Every Situation Is Different Some families need clothes, food or furniture.  Others are experiencing domestic abuse at home from a partner or bullying at school.  Some are homeless.  Some are experiencing depression or are suicidal.  Multiply this by ten or fifteen families who she meets on a  daily basis and it is not surprising to learn that at the end of the day Nicole is emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted. Pushed to the Limit Attitudes can also be challenging and Nicole says that there are also those who will push you to the limit.  Getting through to those who feel like they are a victim, whose problems are a direct result of the actions of others and in no way through their own

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