Home' Aurora : Aurora August 2011 Contents 15
www.mn.catholic.org.au | Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle |
THANKS TO THE initiative of the Catholic
Development Fund (CDF), students in diocesan
schools have the opportunity to begin and maintain
sound saving habits.
By opening a CDF account, students, with the
support of their parents, can deposit an amount
each week, no matter how small, and watch their
Client Services Manager Anne Campbell says, "This
is a simple but effective way for young people to
develop the habit of setting some money aside,
whether from pocket money, earnings from a job or a
Accounts are processed at the school each week, on
a designated day, by a volunteer from the school.
To promote the service, this year the Catholic
Development Fund offered an incentive for the
school opening the most new accounts.
The successful schools were (proportionally in terms
of number of students enrolled) Holy Spirit Infants
School at Abermain, St Paul's Primary at Gateshead
and St Patrick's Primary at Cessnock.
"I would describe our employees as being like
fluid pieces in a jigsaw puzzle; all changing
to fit the pieces needed to make up the rest
of the puzzle. We all have things we re good
at, we all have challenges and we can all
learn from one another. Every day I learn
something new." -- Shaaron Moore.
IT S A MOTTO from which many employers
could learn. Recognising the strengths
and weaknesses of not only current but
potential employees, especially those with
a disability, can assist everyone in the
workforce to have a balanced and satisfying
At least, that's what Novocastrians Brian
Birrell and Shaaron Moore not only preach,
but practise. Both are former teachers who
worked in the special education sector
across the Hunter. It was here that they
were inspired by the unique strengths
young people with a disability can offer.
After leaving the education sector in hopes
of a slower pace of life, Brian and Shaaron
began their own business, Newcastle's
Civic Bikes, and it was here that they
were introduced to (then 20 year old)
What makes John's story unique is the
number of challenges that could have set
him back but have only made him more
determined to succeed. It was this that
landed him his job.
"John would drive us crazy," Shaaron
laughed. "He would come by every week
positions but he would come by and ask
us, again and again, and he eventually
wore us down. We couldn't say no to that
enthusiasm and I'm glad we didn't."
John has a mild intellectual disability and
is autistic. He had a tough start to life after
being born with a condition which saw him
undergo open-heart surgery as a child. John
has been in care since he was a baby and
continues to be supported, with much love
and encouragement, by his carers.
Now 24, John has worked with Brian and
Shaaron for over four years as a trainee
bicycle sales and repairs person. Watching
them, it's obvious that the three are not
unlike a family.
Each day, John catches the bus at 7am
to get to work on time. He is currently
studying at TAFE and doing an on-the-job
traineeship to further his skills. He owns
an iPad and an iPod and has just booked a
cruise for 2012.
To assist him in reaching his potential, John
is also supported by CatholicCare Social
Services Hunter-Manning. John is part of
CatholicCare's Stepping Out program, a
service which enables young people with
a disability to continue living with their
carers, with whom they have established
a loving relationship, after the age of
18. CatholicCare has supported John by
offering him a mentor and advocating on
his behalf which assisted him in receiving a
government sponsored traineeship.
Brian and Shaaron's faces light up when
speaking about John and it's obvious that
they're delighted to have him working
"Everyone is challenged in some ways and
you can't be a rigid piece in a puzzle. You
have to be fluid, to want to learn and adapt
to fit and we're happy to support that
because we expect to be treated the same,"
he said. "He teaches us and we love it,"
John does everything from fixing bikes in
the store to building bikes, trouble-shooting,
packing stock, cleaning hire bikes, waste
management, emergency procedures,
deliveries and retail.
John says that he's treated as an
equal in his workplace. "I'm involved
in decision-making and if I make a
mistake, we'll fix it together. It's a nice
place to be learning and I love having
bacon and eggs with Brian and Shaaron
before the shop opens some days,"
If more employers were willing to take a
piece out of their puzzle, wouldn't it help
all employees see the bigger picture?
As Brian reminds us, "It doesn't matter
if you're diagnosed with a disability or
not. We all have challenges and we all
have strengths, it's just about recognising
that and working together to get the
To find out more about CatholicCare s
disability services, mentoring program
and residential homes, please
P 4979 1316.
By TRACEY EDSTEIN
Take a piece from this puzzle to see the
Brian Birrell (left) and John Williams.
goes to school
Students of Holy Spirit Infants School Jenayse Watson (left) and Riley Stacey are
assisted with their banking by Janelle Seagrave.
Links Archive Aurora July 2011 Aurora September 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page