My name is Wendy and I am a married mum of two awesome teenagers, Jordan 16 and Hannah 14. My husband Danny has been an incredibly hardworking man, working two jobs since Jordan was a toddler in order for me to be a stay at home mum and be there for our kids through all their endeavours, and boy there have been a lot!
This year Hannah started year 8 at secondary school and seeing her so connected and settled and with Jordan moving from strength to strength at school and working at McDonalds, I found myself looking for that something extra to fill my time. I heard a comment once that ‘everyone needs someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to’ and seeing I had my loving family and plenty to do, it was time to look forward to something new.
I happened to be scrolling through my Facebook news feed when a post from Interchange Outer East appeared with ‘JOIN OUR TEAM’ heading up a call for the next round of casual support workers. It grabbed my eye as I have always been in awe of the families and the people who live with disabilities and thought perhaps it was my time to give. I took the step and commented on the post and from there it has been a whirlwind.
I attended an information session where I felt at home immediately. The support that was offered to potential support workers was very evident from the beginning. I had no hesitation submitting my application at the end of that session and the rest is history. I was interviewed and once offered a position I set the wheels in motion to obtain the necessary requirements as soon as possible. I wanted to get started as soon as I could. My employment was activated on 23 June and I have not looked back. It has been a steep learning curve to say the least, but the support of all the staff has made that a much easier task to tackle. They have been patient and answered my hundreds of questions, emails and phone calls without hesitation.
I have been as active as possible in getting shifts booked and have had such a variety of people to ‘work’ with (I find it hard to call what we do work when it’s actually so fulfilling and enjoyable). I have already had a number of ongoing shifts booked in to my week and have picked up one-off shifts wherever possible. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many awesome individuals, each of whom have taught me so much already in my short time with them. I certainly take home so much more than I thought would be possible.
I have had so many firsts from going to the gym with a super spunky natured young lady using public buses, to running through the playground being superheros with a young man who made my day when we danced to the Village People’s YMCA in the middle of Wally Tew Reserve. I have chatted for hours with a lovely lady over hot chocolate and been asked how my nacho making skills stack up. Every shift has something different and new. I have even now cooked vegetable byriani with flat bread from scratch for a lovely family when mum had hurt her arm, and braided her daughters hair which is some of the longest hair I have ever seen! To say I go home feeling fulfilled is an understatement.
I feel incredibly humbled to be allowed to be part of the lives of so many families and wonderful people and feel I now have a super huge extended family, so much so that my kids have signed up also as volunteers and have both attended their first full day shifts over the school holidays. I am so happy that I took the first step in this incredible journey and I would encourage anyone who has ever thought of making a difference to attend one of our information sessions… you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!
Check out the dates of our upcoming casual support worker recruitment sessions here