Putting things in perspective through care and purpose
Last week 15 of our people visited Centacare Industries (part of CatholicCare and also recipients of our social purpose funding) to spend a day working alongside supported workers in a sheltered environment. Overwhelmingly the response to the experience was very positive and there may be other opportunities to attend in the future.
For me spending a day out of the business of my usual routine to stop and connect with the Centacare employees was a humbling experience and reminded me to reflect on my purpose in life. Like many of us, I don’t have the answer but in my heart, it is to help others less fortunate than me and to work together to improve the wellbeing of people in our society. At Centacare Industries they are doing just that.
What is Centacare Industries? The organisation was set up to respond to the needs of parents with adult children who had outgrown the schooling environment. These young adults still wanted and deserved fulfilling work and purpose to support maturity and learning although sustaining employment in the regular workforce was not generally an option. Centacare Industries provides three daily programs for a workforce which is possibly more varied than most, all nationalities, ages and levels of ability. The programs are based around the warehouse security shredding, workshop assembly line and Life Skills learning. The supported workers also work in gardening and office cleaning services.
Over the two days our groups were able to participate in each program and work and/or learn alongside a supported employee.
Some of the highlights of the day were:
Seeing the welcome that late coming workers got when they entered the workplace.
Cooking lunch in the Life Skills program; spaghetti meatballs – yum!
Attending the roll call and daily briefing where important work and social notices were shared.
Feeling genuinely welcome and having conversations that generously revealed a life quite different from our “normal” lives.
Having a supported co-worker tell me that it was nice to chat but I needed to fill my box and get the job done!
Some quotes our people shared:
“Well worth the experience – the people going into Centacare are very well looked after and really seem to have a sense of purpose.” Dianna
“My experience spending a day in the Solidarity Program was very grounding and eye opening. I had no idea just how important Centacare Industries is to the people that work here - not only from a workplace perspective, but from a community perspective also. The people that I met on the day were simply amazing, and I felt that barriers were broken down.” Mark
‘It was a wonderful opportunity to connect with people who are so warm and kind. I found it a really rewarding experience and it really put things into perspective.” Deanne
“Just wanted to say thank you to the Management team for allowing me to get out of my comfort zone and mingle, laugh and share stories with people with disabilities for a day. You get to experience and walk in their shoes, what a typical day looks like for them and it makes you really appreciate on how lucky we really are.” George
”I wasn’t sure what to expect however I had such a lovely day! Getting the opportunity to interact with the employees at Centacare was very humbling and gave me a renewed perspective of what is important. It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day work life and this day was a great opportunity to put things in perspectives and make new connections with such lovely and friendly people! “ Xian
"So much of what we aim to do at AccessEAP is encapsulated in this workplace. The teams are given a real purpose and sense of community through work. They are an incredibly diverse group with varying gifts but all are treated with respect and dignity." Monique