Weekly Wrap-Up: An Evening with U!Shine Vienna


After months of living and working in limbo, we were ecstatic and equally relieved, to finally reach a place of completion with the U!Shine Vienna website. At that point, we felt appropriately prepared to begin hosting events for those in the community we are hoping to reach. Before we could start with workshops and seminars on mental and emotional health, however, we wanted to answer a question on the minds of many:

What and who is U!Shine Vienna?

Websites can be handy for answering such questions, but there’s something more informative about fielding queries in person. With that in mind, and with a desire to personally connect with anyone interested in the purposes of U!Shine Vienna, we hosted an evening of presentation and open dialogue. To add a sense of comfort to the event space and provide for anyone feeling snacky, several of our U!Shine Vienna volunteers baked and sold a variety of delicious homemade goods for as low as fifty cents. All of the money given went right back to the U!Shine Vienna community, so thank you to those who bought a cookie or two!

Seventeen beautiful people of all ages, backgrounds, and cultures joined us last Tuesday evening at The Social Work Hub. Our new friends learned firsthand about:

  • U!Shine Vienna’s origin story

  • What we do

  • Our vision for the future

  • Upcoming events

  • Our funding

  • How to get involved

After our presentation, we had a time of Question and Answer in which several participants had a great interest in “Ask a Professional,” a free service on the U!Shine Vienna website where people can anonymously ask a registered professional a question concerning mental or emotional health and receive a response (while you continue to remain anonymous) in the form of a blog post. We also encouraged those who attended to share the names of professionals in Vienna in whom they trust, and we invite you, dear readers, to do the same.

Once our group time was over, U!Shine Vienna volunteers had this bright moment where we stood back and observed all that was taking place before us, a hope we’d had from the beginning: a diverse group of people being in community with one another, exchanging information and see-you-soon, treating each other with acceptance and compassion. It was truly wonderful to behold and filled us with joy and eagerness for the next time we could all be together.


About the Author

Holly Kooi is co-founder of U!Shine Vienna and lives in Vienna with her husband and two kids. She is a certified Character Mentor, and her heart is with the refugees and those on the fringes of society. She's passionate about loving people well, writing, mental health, and good coffee. To connect with Holly, visit her blog or follow her on Instagram.