Helga's Presents: YiaYia Next Door
Helga's is proud to partner with The Guardian in this four part series, to champion all the unsung heroes doing incredible work in communities across Australia. Not only do these organisations help people who need it most, they give their fellow Australians the opportunity to experience the joy of giving. We are sharing their stories here and giving our own support so that they can continue supporting others. This is part four of four in our special series.
Turning trauma into kindness
In 2013, when Daniel and Luke Mancuso tragically lost their mother to domestic violence, their next-door neighbour stepped in. YiaYia (Greek for grandmother) supported them through a tough time with meals passed over the fence. The brothers set up an Instagram page to share YiaYia’s kindness with friends and it quickly grew a following of thousands.
In honour of their mother, and YiaYia, the brothers decided to set up a social enterprise that supports and inspires communities where people feel safe, and neighbours connect and care. Daniel and Luke are committed to inspiring kindness and encouraging people to ‘love thy neighbour’ as a powerful antidote to violence.
Supporting people who experience family violence
Since they launched the enterprise, the brothers have become ambassadors for a number of domestic violence charities, including the Australian Childhood Foundation, Our Watch and Safe Steps, where they have collectively helped raise tens of thousands of dollars in donations.
As Daniel mentions, “We wanted to be advocates for domestic violence seeing how mum passed away… We want to try and be different in the domestic violence space but still create something that’s beautiful, that’s dedicated to not just our mum but other males and females that have lost someone through domestic violence.”
Luke agrees, saying, “we want to support people that have been through it and the aftermath of it.”
Kindness begets kindness
The boys talk about the thread of kindness that begins with their mum. “She was a selfless person who would do anything for anyone and put others before herself,” Daniel says of his mother.
“Mum would take YiaYia to the grocery store or do the groceries for her because she doesn’t have her license,” Daniel recalls. “She (YiaYia) would say to us ‘your mum was a very beautiful lady, she would never say no to me.’ She would always go that extra mile.”
Luke agrees: “Kindness is one of those things you should give off all the time, because when you’re down it will come back your way and pick you up.”
Kindness makes you feel good
The brothers get a lot of messages from people moved by their story. “With all the kindness that we put out, we get it right back through the DMs and the comments,” Luke says. “Often at times when I feel sad and lonely, I’ll see these lovely messages saying that we’ve helped people and they’re here for us too. It all comes back around.”
How is Helga’s helping?
YiaYia Next Door is one of the four organisations we are supporting with a monetary donation. For YiaYia Next Door, the funds will go towards creating care packages, which will be donated to Australian Childhood Foundation, who provide care and support for children that are victims of abuse and family violence in regional areas of Australia.
Want to know more about kindness?
We have commissioned McCrindle to create a report on the current state of kindness in Australia and give us a score that we’re calling The Kindness Index. You can enter your details below to get access to the full report, or we’ve together a Kindness Hub with all the info you need and we’ve collected some community stories and how-to guides in our Kindness Chronicles.