41. Emilia and Sophie Eagling-Every

6 Aug

sophie and emiliaIn this day and age, headlines of famous sisterly catfights and other family feuds have become so common that it is difficult to imagine a relationship in which this may not occur! But for the Eagling-Every sisters, their relationship could not be more unlike to this…

Emelia and Sophie are 15 and 14 years old respectively. Throughout their years, each has contributed significantly to her local and school communities. What remains particularly admirable, however, is not simply their individual voluntary services, but also how they have encouraged and inspired each other and their peers along the way.

As accomplished musicians, both girls have volunteered their time to perform for the residents of various aged-care facilities across Banyule. In fact, a time when they performed for a lady at the Austin Repatriation Hospital has been one of their most memorable and satisfying volunteering encounters thus far. Whilst this particular lady did not offer them a recording contract with Sony, she did show the girls her sheer gratitude and love for their work. Nevertheless, the girls understand that the elderly can become invisible if the youth do not reach out to them, which is why they feel their work is so important.

Getting up at 6am once a week to deliver newspapers at the hospital has been another enjoyable experience of theirs and it is proof that volunteering does open up a number of doors, particularly for young people. One morning, Emelia delivered a newspaper to a pair of Vietnam War veterans and has since become great friends with them. Talking to these two men on a weekly basis has sparked her interest in Australian wartime history, so much so that she applied to be one of the few Australians travelling to Gallipoli for the centenary of ANZAC Day commemorations.

The girls also worked collectively with their mother Meredith, a teacher at their school, to launch a knitting program which makes blankets for those without adequate heating. Through leading and coordinating such activities, they have developed a consciousness amongst their peers that there are people living a mere kilometre or two away without heating, something often taken for granted.

Their service activities at school have been formally recognised by both their peers and teachers. The girls have each received various awards for their efforts and have been elected as service representatives for their year levels. This role has allowed them to foster a lifelong mentality within their peers that they are so lucky to have the things that they do and consequently it is important to give back to those less fortunate.

In May this year, Emelia won one of Banyule’s Young Volunteer Awards and Sophie could not be more joyed.

“I’m always really proud of her… and I can say to my friends that’s my sister”.

But with her own outstanding volunteering efforts and her ability to “encourage everyone else”, it is likely that she too may be successful in obtaining similar accolades and Emelia will be there supporting her in every step of the way.

Words: Annalisa Cercone

Photo: Sean Porter

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