Entrepreneur goes out of his way to bring joy to others

16 Nov

30

By Niamh Sullivan, Bond University Journalism Student 

A young Brazilian entrepreneur is spreading his passion for happiness by introducing his international charity to the Gold Coast.

Twenty five-year-old Thiago Vallim established Way360, a business that organises social initiatives to inspire and support the community.

Mr Vallim said the Gold Coast was the perfect place for his business expansion.

“Way360 is established in Brazil, the US and Europe, but Australia doesn’t really have any similar organisations,” Mr Vallim said.

“The Australian culture is already so focused on corporate social responsibility and helping each other, so it only made sense to bring Way360 here.

“The Gold Coast especially is such a beautiful place, so we’re hoping our projects will be a reminder of that beauty.”

The organisation’s recent mental health focus inspired their latest initiative of hosting a music competition in a Labrador retirement home.

“When we found studies that said over half of Australia’s elderly suffer from depression related problems, we knew there had to be something we could do,” he said.

“We wanted a project that would not only brighten the lives of those in aged care, but also encourage involvement from young people.

“That is how we designed our Old is Cool Music Fest, which featured local young musicians as performers and elderly residents as the judging panel.”

Mr Vallim said the day was an overwhelming success, with rave reviews from the musicians and the residents.

“It was a very powerful day and everyone got involved,” he said.

“Seeing involvement from all residents, even those with dementia, made all our hard work so meaningful.

“Every single smile reminded me that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”

The centre’s aged-care activity officer Warwick Ray said the results Way360 achieved were unbelievable.

“I didn’t understand at first what Way360 was trying to do, but within the first 30 minutes it was clear to everyone,” Mr Ray said.

“The smiles on the face of every resident and their interaction with the young musicians was a phenomenal success.

“If Mr Vaillim and his team are willing to come back, we would happily have them here every single week.”

The Way360 team are determined to ensure these events continue.

“We are now working in conjunction with this aged care facility and hope to expand to other centres to hold monthly events,” Mr Vallim said.

“We have lots of exciting ideas which we can’t wait to share with the residents, such as the introduction of virtual reality technology which will enable them to visit Rome or Brazil without having to leave their bedrooms.”

Mr Vallim is also developing projects aimed at Gold Coast youths.

“We are currently developing a photography project in conjunction with Gold Coast Homeless Youth association,” he said.

“We are trying to combat the overwhelming rate of suicide in this demographic by providing career options, finances and skills to the homeless young people.

“We will run a photography course before holding a showcase at a local Gold Coast café, where the photographs will be sold and 100% of the profits will be given back to the Homeless organisation to enable the construction of a shelter.”

More information about how to get involved with Way360’s upcoming events can be found on their website or Facebook page.

 

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