'Sacrificing his twenties to serve others', Lucas Patchett
OrangeSky is a non-profit organisation founded in October 2014 by two friends Lucas and Nicholas Marchesi in Brisbane, Australia. The organisation provides practical support and help to people experiencing homelessness or unstable housing conditions, including showers and laundry services. Their distinctive orange and white vans provide a non-judgmental space for people to talk and connect with others, and they also invite other service providers to give support. OrangeSky has helped over 30,000 "friends" in 9 years and currently has 36 mobile units, run by a blend of professional staff and volunteers.
The mission of OrangeSky has evolved from delivering practical support to one focused on connecting communities to people who are homeless or experiencing unstable housing conditions. Lucas stresses that homelessness could happen to anyone and points to the importance of experienced mentors and advisors, including their parents, in the establishment and growth of OrangeSky. He also emphasises the generosity of people in supporting their cause, whether with their time, money, advice, or wisdom.
Overall, OrangeSky is a testament to the power of collaboration and the generosity of people in helping those in need.
OrangeSky's services go beyond just practical help. They provide a safe and non-judgmental space for people experiencing homelessness to connect with others and access support. The conversations that occur while using the laundry and shower services can lead to valuable connections with other people going through similar experiences or with other service providers who can provide additional support.
OrangeSky has been successful in attracting funders who are tired of backing vague and hard-to-measure engagement projects. Lucas outlines the future for OrangeSky, including better use of technology to deliver positive impact and a specific focus on reducing isolation and loneliness. He also has an eye on organizational stability and the future of OrangeSky being less reliant on him and Nicholas on a day-to-day basis.
Lucas emphasises that anyone could experience homelessness and that without a support network, it can be easy to fall on tough times.
One of OrangeSky's early clients, Jordan, was someone Lucas had studied with at university. Jordan's experience highlights the importance of having a support network and how easily someone can find themselves in a position of needing help. The connections and conversations that OrangeSky provides can be life-changing.
It is truly remarkable to see young people like Lucas and Nicholas dedicating their time and energy to helping others in such a meaningful way. It takes a lot of courage and determination to step outside of one's own comfort zone and take action to address a pressing social issue like homelessness. Their commitment to providing practical help and creating connections between homeless individuals and support services is truly inspiring. It just goes to show that even a small group of motivated individuals can make a big difference in their community.