However, a series of hurdles prevented the Mosman Park accountant from making the difference she wanted to until now.
Since that first visit, Ms Tolstoy has joined the Rotary Club of Perth and last month launched Path of Hope: breaking the cycle of domestic violence, with Rotary International pledging to raise $1 million for the initiative.
Money raised would help fund an outreach program at the 119-year-old Graceville Centre that supports women and children.
‘We chose domestic violence because five years ago it didn’t get as much attention,’ she said.
While Ms Tolstoy said it had been a long five years of getting the initiative off the ground, there had been small achievements in that time.
She said professionals had offered their services, including counselling 30 hours a week, 10 hours weekly of free legal advice, a backyard blitz and tax firm starter kits for women.
Salvation Army Major Margaret MacDonald, a former teacher, has been involved with the Salvation Army for 38 years.
‘This is just awesome because we have known for a long time that it’s not enough to bring a woman in for six to eight weeks and then say ‘go back in to the community’,’ Major MacDonald said.
‘It’s always been my desire to get out there and we’ve tried in small ways with awareness programs.
‘To have people giving us support when we are running so tight is such a blessing.’
Rotary raised about $15,000 at the initiative launch and will host a Great Gatsby-themed high tea on Sunday, January 19, from 2.30 to 4pm at St Joseph’s Piazza, Subiaco.
For more information, visit www.pathofhope.org.au.
Opinion, page 10