Orange Sky Laundry

The power of human conversation

It was probably about 12 months ago now that my wife (Jodi) came home one day and literally put a new idea on the table (the dining table to be precise).

Jodi had read an article that discussed the value of meaningful conversations between family members at the dinner table and how that translated into close lifelong bonds between family members. She was inspired and she was looking for our family to do this.

So with that in mind, every night since we have asked our kids (Amelia 6 and Lachlan 4) a number of questions about their day and then taken care to really listen to their responses. They do the same with us and I have to say it is without doubt the most enjoyable part of my day and the thing I look forward to most.

The questions we typically ask each other are:

  1. Tell me something good about your day?
  2. Tell me something that was bad about your day?
  3. What did you learn today?
  4. What are you grateful for?
  5. What is something you did today that you are proud of?
Farley family

My family

Each day the responses from the kids are wide and varied and often funny to listen to. They allow us, as parents, to gain a great insight into our kids’ world and understand how they are feeling about a range of different things. Most importantly, you can see that Amelia and Lachlan look forward to sharing their day with us and quite often are jostling for position on who gets to go first.

This wonderful family experience got me thinking recently about the power of conversation and what it means for people to be able to interact with others. My view is that this type of interaction is an important element of human life which is supported by many studies that suggest that strong social networks and regular interaction with others provides a range of mental and physical wellbeing benefits.

That is why I am really quite proud of the partnership that Beyond Bank has recently announced with Orange Sky Laundry in Canberra.

Orange Sky Laundry is a mobile laundry service for the homeless and in a very short period of time has established a particularly strong presence in almost every major city in Australia. Orange Sky Laundry founders, Nicholas Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, were recently named Young Australians of the Year for the work that they have undertaken with communities through the organisation.

You might be wondering what the link is between a mobile laundry service and the power of conversation? Well here it is.

In addition to washing the clothes for the homeless, Orange Sky Laundry also puts out a number of chairs for their clients to sit on whilst their clothes are being washed. Once seated, the client is then able to have a genuine and meaningful conversation with a volunteer from Orange Sky Laundry and talk about whatever is going on in their lives.

For many this might be the only conversation they have with another person on that particular day. This is a very powerful thing and a key aspect of what Orange Sky Laundry is all about.

Orange Sky Laundry’s mission is to provide a vehicle for conversations, opportunities and education through a free mobile laundry service for the homeless, worldwide.

It is a mission that I appreciate with a greater understanding because of our own household dinner conversations each night.

For more information on how you can support the work of Orange Sky Laundry please click here.

Photo from The Canberra Times


  1. Karen Gassner

    Hi Shane

    What a fantastic article and one that many of us can relate to. My boys are 28 years old and I love our family catchups where we share what we have been doing since last seeing each other. It is amazing how much you learn by sitting down together as text messages and phone calls can never provide you with this experience.
    Orange Sky is providing such a wonderful service to our Canberra homeless by providing conversation, respectfulness and allowing every particiapnt to have dignity.

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