Determined to understand how they could help Mary to feel happier, support worker Jane took her out for a coffee and asked her what was wrong: did she not enjoy the centre? Slowly, Mary began to open up. She didn’t like going bowling - it was too noisy for her. She didn’t like to swim - she hated getting her hair wet. She wasn’t interested in a disco - dancing wasn’t her thing. All completely understandable reasons! It turned out, our schedule of activities just wasn’t right for Mary. Because we are all different, and enjoy different things.
Through this conversation, we were able to understand how Mary liked to spend her days, and we immediately adapted her program to suit her better. Mary had learnt arts and crafts skills from her mother as a child, and loved to be creative. So now she has her very own activity box, filled with all the supplies and materials she needs to do the activities she enjoys. She loves to knit, and is happily half way through knitting a scarf in the colours of her beloved AFL team. She waves off our other clients as they head to the pool, and bakes a cake for them to have on return (wearing the apron she sewed herself!) Through listening to Mary’s individual story, we were able to empower her with the tools she needed to take charge of her day, and in turn, her own happiness.
At the beginning of his time with us, John had trouble controlling negative behaviours. His anger exhibited in grabbing and kicking others, pushing and pulling people, and he wasn’t able to enjoy his time at our day program. With a large team of support workers always available, we were able to assign John a dedicated person to be with him each day. Matt works with John to help him better deal with his anger. He monitors when John is feeling anxious or angry and may be about to lash out, and takes him to the side to gently help him calm down, breathe and relax. Over time, a whole new John emerged - one that was loving, playful and happy to engage with others.
Now, John loves to greet all his friends with a big smile and a laugh. He loves the disco each week and is known as the life of the party: the band even keeps aside a special drum kit for him to play! He helps to cook the sausages and salads at the weekly BBQ for all to enjoy. We are told that John eagerly awaits us each morning and really enjoys his time doing things with new friends. With Matt and the rest of the support staff’s individualized attention, John has been able to transform into the best version of himself.
We have a team of over 100, comprising our head office staff, and our qualified support workers in disability and child and youth services.