The heart and soul of every great company is its people and the most successful organisations are those in which the passions and values of its employees align with the guiding principles of the organisation.
A person-centred organisation puts individuals at the heart of everything they do.
This includes people they work for or support and their families, staff, and other stakeholders.
AT CFN we are a person-centred organisation that has the processes and structures in place for everyone, all the time, whatever they are doing.
Hi my name is George . I started working for CFN this year. Prior to this I've had many different roles including being a stay at home dad to look after my daughter with special needs.
I enjoy helping make a difference in peoples lives. I am involved with "Makers Station" as I have a passion for teaching how to make things, particularly out of timber. I also do other things within the Enthuse group, as well as individual support work.
In my spare time I enjoy woodwork, DIY, gardening, ten pin bowling, fundraising, travel, motorbike rides and adventures with my partner. Next years adventure is taking part in the Mystery Box Rally to raise money for the Cancer Council.
My name is Mary Crase. I have worked for 30 years in the Caring industry and retired in May 2019. I found retirement not what I thought it would be. Thanks to Debs, I am very much enjoying some relief care shifts with CFN. So I’m the new kid on the block. I’ll tell you a little about myself.
I have a wonderful husband Bob and we have 7 children, who have long left the nest and we are blessed with 15 beautiful grand children, ranging in age from 4-24. I enjoy the company of the older children and enjoy babysitting the younger ones. I spent the first 20 years of my marriage at home rearing our family, and at 40 returned to education and Uni.
I worked for Australian Red Cross for 9 years, 7 of them at Prince Charles Hospital and 2 years at Royal Brisbane. In my role as Team Leader I planned and implemented music and creative activities for maternity, mental health and long-term patients. Also aged care patients waiting for placement in Nursing Home. I spent 6 years at RSL Caboolture in the Day Therapy Centre planning and implement a Diversional Therapy program. It was here I met a group of young people with disability and this is where I found my true passion, working with people with disability.
In 2000 my husband and I went to work as carers at Lavally Lodge which is a 10-bed household. In 2007 I become the Manager. I found this role very rewarding. I was able to support and encourage residents to be independent. Empowering them to make choices and have control in their own lives, in what activities they wanted to participate in. Supporting them to know they are valued members of our society, with the same dreams and ambitions as everyone else.
Hi! My name is Cairney and I am 25.
I grew up in Mandurah, an hour south of Perth in WA with my mum, dad, 3 sisters, 2 dogs, 3 horses and 1 very recalcitrant cat. We had a very busy and chaotic household that was always full of adventures and love. I always had a passion for caring (particularly for medicine) and the people behind the medicine. This led me to start volunteering as a St. John Ambulance Cadet from the age of 8. After graduating from high school, I took a few years to travel the world and eventually moved to Brisbane to start my Bachelor of Paramedicine at ACU in Banyo.
I started working for CFN in 2017 as I wanted a job where I could really care for the people I was working with and feel like I was making a difference in their lives (and them in mine) while I was studying. What I found was a career that I truly love and value every day.
In 2018 I took 14 months off work and had to withdraw from my degree due to a hip injury. Returning to work in 2019 has given me the greatest joy. I love my job, I love my clients and I love CFN.
When I’m not working, you’ll find me with my family, my friends or my 2 puppies. I hope to keep working at CFN while I work towards my travel and financial goals.
Hello, I am Izak and absolutely love my role with the CFN family…..
I have spent the past 10 years working within Aged Care, specialising in Dementia/Sensitive Care and working as an assistant Nurse within the hospital environment, also completing, writing training and development programmes. I have absolutely loved all the challenges I have been presented with.
My passions are my family, my husband, the beach, living every day like it’s my last, cooking and travel. I love to experience anything new and love to be out of my comfort zone. I absolutely love the ocean and my pool. I love learning every day and supporting our members to achieve their goals and dreams.
Since joining the Disability Sector (I like to call it ability), its truly opened my eyes to a whole new perspective. I never thought I could succeed in this field; however, this is now my absolute passion, watching, guiding and supporting the members grow and flourish is the most rewarding feeling ever and makes me feel so proud and dignified.
What really drives me is seeing the success and the inspiration our members and staff bring to CFN, and what I learn from these beautiful people, working within a family environment, rather than a formal company.
One question I love asking members, staff and the world is “What have you done today to make you feel proud?” No matter how big or small, we all do something that makes us proud and feel worthwhile and amazing. Everybody is beautiful no matter who you are…
My final quote as a person and carer is “The best gift you can give anyone is your time”.
I am a bubbly and very lively, cheerful person. I have an optimistic nature and always see the bright side of life. I am enthusiastic and throw myself into life in general.
For the past three years, I have been working closely with some pretty amazing people. It started down the Gold Coast where I was a personal trainer and had a diverse client group. Personal Training was something that I had dedicated my time, effort and heart to. Over a period of time, I was fortunate to have several clients with special needs who encouraged me to consider working in the area of disability and to also consider studying teaching. Fast forward a couple of years, and I have just completed my second year of primary school teaching and absolutely love it. My aim is to work in the area of special needs in the outback. I am a country girl at heart and live just outside Caboolture with my horses, cows and dogs. I am an overall animal lover.
I love my job at CFN. I realise there are life lessons to be learned from anyone and everyone in life. I have never participated in anything as rewarding, challenging, joyful and wonderful. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me and allowing me to walk alongside you.
In 2019, I began working with a young member of my family who has been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Engaging with them on a professional level allowed me to see that it was a privilege and a challenge to help them achieve their goals. From that point on I set out to achieve a Certificate III in Individual Support, which gave me the knowledge and experience to apply my skill set to assisting people from all walks of life.
As a practicing artist, specialising in painting and drawing, one of my greatest pleasures is to combine support work with making and creating. My goal is always to encourage the people that I work with to have confidence in themselves and to have fun!
In my free time I hangout with my cat, dog, horse, family and friends, while making art (though generally not all at once).
Hi everyone my name is Tamika and here is a little about myself.
I was born in NSW then moved to Brisbane when I was a few weeks old. I lived in Keperra, Brisbane for my younger years then moved to New Zealand in 1997 for most of my high schooling years. When I returned back to Australia I then completed my Diploma Of Community Services.
I have worked in the Community Services Sector for many years and I commenced working for CFN in August 2019. Before I began my CFN journey I worked in Aged Care and Mental Health for many years, I have also worked with Domestic Violence and Youth.
I have 4 beautiful children, and outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family, visiting new places, researching, planning and cleaning. Yep that’s right ‘cleaning’ I find it relieves stress, and honestly I love a clean and organised house.
I have a love for animals (especially dogs) my fur baby is like my 5th child… Oh hang on, wait! No, That’s my husband… All jokes aside my dog (and my husband) bring so much joy and love to my life.
When I get the chance I love to relax and unwind with a movie or Netflix show. During our holidays my family enjoys camping on the beach, swimming and sleep ins.
I have always had a passion for making a difference, helping where I can and supporting people to live their best life. I love working in the Community Services Sector, I believe it’s where I’m meant to be and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else with my life.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story!
I look forward to meeting you all at CFN.
Hi guys!!! I'm Tiffany and I have been giving individual support for 4 years now and I absolutely love it. I have been with CFN since May 2019, and it has proven to be one of the most diverse and rewarding facilities I have worked with.
Being able to support a range of individuals, in both groups and one on one. I get to see the real changes; the growth and development of the people I am lucky enough to support.
I love seeing their independence strengthen and their love for life flourish as they strive to meet their own goals, a journey that we do together.
I live with my husband Dale and our 6 yr old Daughter Willow, as well as many fur babies. We love camping, the outdoors and just being together.
I believe that the essence of life is to care, this is something I try apply to all avenues of my life, hoping it will inspire others to feel the same. If you see me around, please feel free to say hi, I love meeting new people.
Hi, I’m narelle.
I’ve been working in the disability industry for the past 10-15 years. I love working with people and helping them achieve their dreams and goals.
My passions are travel, my children and my dogs.
I’m outgoing, have a great sense of humour and I get along with everyone!!
Hi my name is Ardristan, most people call me Addie.
I joined the CFN family in March 2019 and ever since have loved working in such a supportive and loving environment. My passion for disability support started in my family; my little brother was born with high functioning Autism (non verbal). Watching my little brother grow up, he would always struggle to communicate with people and struggled being different. We found that each and everyday we supported him he would never give up. Watching my little brother become the best person he can be has made me so incredibly proud as his big sister. His growth and his determination, inspired me to help other people with our community. Helping them feel a part of a supportive community, to be inspired to be whoever they want to be- to reach for the stars!!! This is what inspired me to become a Disability Support Worker.
Outside of work I am a full-time uni student studying Education/Environmental studies; and will soon become a Secondary School Teacher. I also love spending time with friends and family, movies, travelling, camping, going to the beach and love going to music/food festivals. Most people would describe me as bubbly, outgoing, always smiling and looking for something to do! That's me!
Hi! My name is Teyarna.
I started working with people with disabilities when I was 18 and it’s been the best 6 years. I've been working at CFN since February 2019 and I absolutely adore it. My passion started for this industry when I was 12. My dad worked as a support worker/aged carer and I'd spend most of my weekends running around the nursing home helping out. For my future studies I plan on extending my knowledge in mental health.
When I’m not at work you’ll find me spending time with my family, exploring new restaurants and going out with my friends. I enjoy bush walks, the beach and absolutely love to cook, even if I’m burning everything!
I like to describe myself as bubbly, outgoing, and motivated! If You were to ask my friends and family they’d say I’m a total chatter box and that’s because I absolutely love people and learning their personalities so you’ll most definitely see me having a banter. Other than that, I live a quiet life with my partner and cat!
Hi my name is Hayley. I'm young at heart and I am passionate about my role assisting people. I will always be looking for ways to improve other people's lives. My aim is to make others feel good about themselves and my daily challenge is to make someone smile.
I have been in various caring roles since I was 17 including swim instructor, teachers aide, helping with the homeless and needy, adults and children with a disability in the home and community. I have also helped with taking groups overseas, charity work, fundraising and palliative care of adults and children. As you can see I love working with all types of people and I'm lucky enough to regularly be given the opportunity to make a difference in others lives.
One of my favourite quotes has to be "Don't be afraid of being different, be afraid of being the same as everyone else." This is definitely what I live by.
In my spare time I'm at my happiest walking about watching nature, being creative, travelling, learning about different cultures, being pillion on my partners motorbike, fundraising and studying. I also enjoy adventures and I am hoping to be accepted for the 'shitbox rally' next year so watch this space!!
Hi! My name is Chris. I started working at CFN in January 2019. Prior to working at CFN, I have worked part-time at other disability organisations and Currimundi Special School, while currently studying the final year of my degree in Occupational Therapy.
I’m a strong believer in inclusion and social participation, which is why you will always find me on the basketball court with a group of people or, grading and adapting tasks to help individuals participate in the daily group activities to their full potential. I enjoy supporting each one of my clients and value the opportunity to learn from them, just as much I hope they gain from me.
Outside of work I love spending time with my wife, two children and friends. I love the outdoors and enjoy hiking, camping, fishing, boating - any free chance I get!
My name is Ai. I have been a support worker at CFN for three months and have been the grapher for PATH for 2 years. I love working with so many colourful individuals, they are all like a beautiful rainbow. Every day is so much fun!
I originally came from Japan and moved to Australia in 2001 as an overseas student to study English and complete my University Degree in Human Services in Brisbane.
My family is everything to me, my (very Japanese way) husband, my kids and my 'gentle giant' puppy dog. They make me smile all the time.
I describe myself as a very positive, open, very honest with a hard working mind and I like to support people with any background. Other than work I enjoy karaoke, craft and shopping!
Please feel free to have a chat with me whenever you see me.
Arigatou (Thank you).
Hi, my name is Heather. I grew up in Western Australia and moved to Queensland in 2010. Queensland is now home with both my Mum, sister and her young family living close by. I love being Aunty Heather to my two nephews and my niece.
I have a Bachelor of Business Management from the University of Queensland. As part of my course I had the opportunity to spend a semester studying in Montreal. I really enjoy travel and have had the opportunity to travel through the Americas and across Europe.
In my free time I tend to keep busy volunteering for various organisations. I also enjoy catching up for coffee or a meal with friends/family or alternatively you will find me relaxing at home watching something on Netflix or YouTube.
For more than 30 years, I have been working within the Disability sector and held diverse and varied roles.
Travelling is one of my many passions – in particular countries of the Third World. I am grateful that, since a very young age, I have had the opportunity to travel far and wide. Volunteering as a trainee in India, Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia has been an honour. In these roles I have worked closely with facilitators in narrative therapy, local professionals within these countries, women and children.
The intention of my work both at home in Australia and in the capacity of volunteer, has always been to support individuals to navigate life changing experiences in ways that focus on people’s strengths; allowing people to feel heard, acknowledged and to recognised that they are valued.
I appreciate assisting individuals to plan for their future; looking at the big picture, guiding and setting goals around individuals hopes and dreams for now and into the future. It always has been and will continue to be a privilege, listening to people tell their story, in their own words. I have found that my interest in planning has been useful for many families as they prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
I believe that success in business is about feelings – the way we feel about the organisation or the people within the service; how we behave informs our decisions about how people choose to conduct themselves within the work place. Being passionate about our work connects each one of us to a strong sense of purpose and fulfilment.
My ideal day would be strolling or sitting on the beach with my fur baby Mia and husband, listening to the waves roll in. I am at my happiest by the ocean; it is therapeutic for me. In fact, my favourite holiday destination would be anywhere by the ocean.
Hello, my name is Jess. I've been working at CFN since the beginning of 2016. Before CFN I was working in Perth in supportive accommodation.
I'm originally from England, Manchester so yep I've got a pommie accent and Manchester is a city, not bed linen to me. In 2010 I went traveling with my sisters and a close friend, we went to Latin America and South East Asia. We experienced so many different cultures and visited so many amazing places. Australia was our final stop but then a year into traveling around working, I met my partner, 6 years on and a gorgeous little boy here we are today.
2 years ago I became a mummy to my little man Grayson but before Grayson I was a step-parent to Taleisha.
In my spare time, I like to exercise but that's getting more challenging with my young family. Well mainly because my toddler likes me in his eyesight but spending time with my family is my main priority. I love going to Sydney to see my sisters and when I can afford it going back to my hometown to see family and friends.
It's a privilege working in the disability sector. To be trusted with someone nearest and dearest, to watch an individual grow, achieve goals with some fun and laughter along the way.
My name is Becca and I’m a proud mum of 3 beautiful (sometimes crazy) children. My family is my absolute world. Most of my spare time, if not all, revolves around their busy sporting commitments.
We get to travel to lots of different places to cheer them on - I’m a very proud mum! I love the simple things in life, making memories with my kids and giving them a memorable childhood is what is most important to me. I began my journey at CFN in 2017. CFN has had such a positive impact on my life and I love coming to work every single day.
I work in the CFN office and my duties range from administration, fundraising, events and everything in between. We have an open-door policy and I love receiving visits from the individuals and the families of whom we support. It is an absolute privilege to hear their stories and assist the individuals and their families in any way that I can.
Whenever I get the opportunity, I love to get involved in the activities and always jump at the chance to be in the presence of the individuals we support. I am so inspired by our participants and the staff within our CFN family and feel truly blessed to part of the team. I’m exactly where I am meant to be - I know that for sure!
Hi there, my name is Candice and I'm the Enthuse Program lead facilitator here at CFN Association Inc. I've been part of the CFN family for over six years and have had the opportunity work within several different roles. This might seem cliche, but working here doesn't feel like a job. It is a place where ideas are always flowing and every day is different.
Now, aside from seeing 'new episodes' on my favorite Netflix series...I also love traveling, animals, adventure, art, music and eating amazing food! My interests are quite varied, but one of my main passions is culture and why we do what we do. After working in the corporate banking and energy industry, I made a promise to myself that I would get a degree, travel the world and work for an organization that aligned more with my core values. I made the decision to work for CFN Association Inc and obtain a degree in Social Science, Geography and International/Community Development. My studies took me overseas to live in Indonesia and Ecuador, these experiences changed my life and made me realize how important looking after your local is. There have been many overseas adventures and there are more to come.
Thanks for reading a bit about me!
When I’m not behind my camera snapping away, you might find me in my garden where I love to grow flowers, fruits and vegetables. I couldn’t pass up a good cup of coffee which is my life source as I complete my degree at University studying a Bachelor of Nutrition.
I love to travel and am constantly inspired by the individuals I support along with my beautiful sister whom I am an advocate for. I love spending time with my family and my furbaby!
As a child, I grew up on acreage in the beautiful country area of Mt Kilcoy with my Mum, Dad, three older siblings, and lots of animals! If I was not to be seen at home, I was down at our creek exploring and getting into mischief (I wouldn’t be living up to the youngest child expectations if I didn’t). This was where my love of exploring began which has led me to travel to different places overseas throughout the last couple of years, learning many new things along the way, and yes, still getting into mischief.
Exploring when I was both young and older has taught me many valuable lessons and presented me with some amazing experiences to bring back home with me. I left Caboolture Family Network to begin my travels, and was warmly welcomed back after my return, but I have always incorporated my passion for exploring and learning new things into the kind of support worker I aspire to be.
This is the eight year I have been in the support worker role and there has never been a week I have not learnt something new, which I believe is extremely important to be an effective worker. Nowadays I keep myself busy studying to be a primary school teacher at university, working at the Caboolture Special School and CFN. To keep myself a happy and operative employee, I love to keep active, have me time, but also make sure I spend plenty amount of time with my partner, family, friends and of course my gorgeous doggy.
“Hi, I’m Peta! I have been working in the Disability Sector for 12 years now and I really couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I genuinely love what I do and look forward to getting up every morning to work with the people I support. I have a background in mental health also, which is another passion of mine.
When I’m not at work, you can usually find me running around after my two children, gardening, renovating or finally getting around to attempting one of the hundred DIY/craft projects I have saved off Pinterest.
I also love live music/gigs, bushwalks and yoga.
...And I’m not too ashamed to admit that my guiltiest pleasure would have to be watching old reruns of The Simpson’s, in an attempt to relive my youth.”
My name is Jhoann just called me "Jo" easy to say. I’ve been working at CFN for almost 7 years. I finished Bachelor in Pimary Education and been a school teacher in 6 years in the Philippines. Married my husband for 13years and blessed with two beautiful children Ashlee 11 and Alliyah 8.
Cooking makes me happy I believe that “Food is where the People Unite” my biggest food testers are my two children. As a family we like hiking, mountain climbing, going to the beach, walking and kayaking with our loving, hyper active full of energy lovable Max the Dalmatian.
My children inspire me the most and the reason of my existence. Ocean, beach and mountain is where I feel the serenity of peace. My dog is my animal replica. People who surround me – Family, workmates, people I’m supporting and my friends always gives me the meaning and essence of being loved and alive.
My job promotes life and work balance, it’s great to know that you’re not treated like an object but a person; they treasure your contribution as a worker. I like the people I work with, they let me use my skills and abilities. I have an auntie that is my father’s sister, diagnosed with brain damage in an accident. The other part of her brain malfunctioning and make her stop speaking and moving. Just looking at her while growing up, I promise to myself I well assists and help who are not capable of doing things by themselves.
My heroes are my grandparents; my grandfather who served his country for a long time, a good family provider to his 8 children, a devoted honest husband to his wife. Lastly, my hard-working farmer beautiful native grandmother who helps a lot of the people in her town.
Hi I am now a young sixty year old gentleman, but I’m not sure how I got here or where the years went. I think I have a good sense of humour, dad jokes are my specialty and I like to have fun.
I started my working life as a plasterer, which is where I developed my work ethics. I continued with engineering and work in the aluminium industry where I became a trainer. From there I delivered training in a variety of areas including work procedures, on the job and staff training, high risk licences and later on trained apprentices at Tafe.
After getting married and having four children, my wife and I joined a program to offer respite care to families with children with disabilities. We enjoyed this so much that we are now both working as support workers. As well as community access support, we also offer our home hosting individuals over weekends.
My passions are my family, motorbikes, mini golf, collecting, making and fixing things. I enjoy helping people and seeing their happiness after constructing something of their own. I like to encourage people to increase their skill level and nurture them in their journey.
I’m always ready and willing to help anyone wherever I can.
I’m also responsible for people in the community wearing Hawaiian shirts on Fridays! - I love a loud shirt Friday.
I am a mature, loving and caring wife, mother and grandmother. My family mean the world to me, as do my dogs.
I have had some trauma in my life which has made me who I am today, but I have also been blessed with six beautiful grandchildren, had the opportunity to do some travelling and have had a long, happy marriage of 38 years so far.
I try to always look on the positive side of things and think it is everyone’s right to be happy. I love the outdoors, yoga, writing, painting, art and craft, AFL football and all kinds of music. Some of my idols are Elvis Presley and my mum. Health and wellness, environmental issues, fairness and inclusion are some of my passions.
I believe disabilities should not stop anyone leading a happy and fulfilling life and thoroughly enjoy supporting individuals, helping and guiding them to build on their skills and interests to become the happiest and best version of themselves.
My husband and I first started our journey of supporting individuals with disabilities many years ago in a respite capacity. At that time we felt our own children would benefit from the experience. From then, it grew to be something we both enjoyed and learned a lot from and still do.
I feel blessed that CFN has given me the opportunity to carry on with this passion of supporting, caring for and learning from some of the most beautiful individuals in our community and their families.
Before starting as a support worker, I remember thinking that this type of work would be ‘soul food’ - something to feel good about, but it’s much more than that.
I grew up in a small town with my parents and two younger brothers called Mt Pleasant, a small country community of Dayboro. My passion for caring for others stemmed from my mother who started a family run day care from our home. Enter into my now adult life, I have many passions such as fishing, days at the beach, four wheel driving & many other outdoor activities.
After graduating high school from St John Fisher College, I was unsure of what I wanted to do, as many young adults are. My dream would have been living at the beach and having an exciting journey everyday (real dreamer right?). A boring 9-5 job with a routine, just wasn’t my scene. That is when I started my career doing FIFO for a Coal Seam Gas Pipeline and Gold Mine all over Queensland. Fast forward to now I am living and breathing my dream career as a Disability Support Worker at CFN.
I get to immerse in different activities every day, with all types of amazing people. There is definitely never a boring day which is why I love my job so much, every day is different. I honestly couldn’t see myself doing anything else, the people I get to be around, the journeys we take together, make my life so full of joy. My hero would have to be the people I get to support, without sounding corny, they make me who I am and teach me things about myself every day, they challenge me and have forever changed me as well. Life is all about Growth!
My name is Juliana and my background is of Torres Strait Islander descent. I was born at Thursday Island and lived in Bamage, a small indigenous community in the far northern part of Cape York Peninsula Queensland. I've attended Bamaga State School and Senior Year at Bamaga High. Completed my Junior Certificate at Cairns State High School then continued my further education at Cairns Business College with a Diploma of Clerk Typist. I worked as a Trainee at Cairns Employment Center.
I come from a very extended family where we were taught respect and responsibilities by our elders and traditional values are important factors to be passed down to young generations. I've got two brothers and three sisters so growing up amongst huge families have given me the opportunity to share why I’m passionate about working with people with disabilities. My sister has intellectual Impairment and a nephew who has cerebral palsy and so I've learnt a lot from them to be able to help and support families at present.
I have seven children, four sons and three daughters and five grandchildren. I was a stay home mum for 10yrs before applying for a teachers aide position at Caboolture Special School in 1994 and am still employed at present for over 24years. I'm very passionate about my work and was interested to know whereabouts of my former students. Anyway I start to make enquiries, apparently a work mate suggested CFN. I am now working for CFN as a Support Worker and I was so happy to be supporting these young people that are living a productive lives when leaving school.
My hobbies and interests are basketball, camping, fishing and spending quality time with my family. I play recreational basketball once a week and attend local gym for fitness, exercise lessons twice a week. I'm very easy going person, I love telling jokes and sometimes people think that I'm serious but I'm NOT?? LOVE TO HAVE A GOOD LAUGH EVERY NOW AND THEN😀
CFN is a dedicated non-profitable organization and I'm proud to be part of a very exciting group of workmates who support each other. It's a great pleasure to be supporting these young people with a diverse range of intellectual disabilities that can live a meaningful, satisfying, and productive lives within their own communities.
About an hour north of Brisbane sits a tiny country town called Kilcoy. About fifteen minutes out of Kilcoy is where I was raised, Mt Kilcoy. My parents owned around 3 acres at the bottom of a valley where I lived with one of my three older siblings.
We had chickens, dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, pigeons, cockatoos, finches, and budgies. If it made an annoying noise… we had some. Even the occasional peacock that would wander down from the neighbour’s farm.
Growing up around animals taught us responsibility at a young age. I enjoyed looking after them and knew I was lucky to have that opportunity, it’s the first time I realized that caring felt natural to me.
I attended a small school of around two hundred kids of all ages. Everybody knew everybody which is very on brand for a small town. My high school years are a very similar story. Same small town, same people.
I had a few jobs during my high school years, mainly in local cafés and pizza shops. After I graduated I started working in Kilcoy’s main Pub.
When I was nineteen I moved to London where I travelled the UK and lived for just over a year. Originally, I was working in fancy hotels and I did this for a few months but It didn’t feel right for me. A friend approached me about working in a school. There I landed a position working in a huge, long-standing school that resembled a castle.
I worked with children with Autism in mainstream classrooms and I loved it. I soon realised that if I was going to come home from work and feel exhausted, I needed to feel like I was doing something with real purpose. Those kids changed my life and I will certainly not forget them.
When I moved back to Australia I was told about CFN Association. It was exactly what I was looking for, three years later and here we are.
What inspires me to want to be in service to others? For me, it has always been a natural part of my self. It’s something that cannot be explained but it’s a calling of sorts. The word ‘compassion’ describes how I see the world. I believe that the term, ‘always try to make life better’ is not just for myself but for others as well. With this in mind I always make time to do the things I love.
My passions in life are spending time connecting with the spiritual side of life. You will always smell incense, candles, and meditation music playing if you were to drop by. Creating a haven of ‘peace’ is important to my well-being. I am still aiming to get myself into the ‘lotus position’ but alas I feel it will be a quest to undertake for the remainder of my life lol!
I love to climb mountains in my spare time but try to keep to the more realistic challenges. I did however challenge myself to a mountainous six day walk across the Overland Trail in Tasmania just recently. What an adventure! I never gave up, although there were times my legs wanted to. Carrying twenty kilos in my backpack and witnessing the beauty of the Tasmanian wilderness is a memory I will carry with me always. I will do it again one day.
Silly slapstick comedy makes me laugh and will often find humour in many situations.
My philosophy in this life-time is about learning and always taking any opportunity to move forward with knowledge. Never ceasing to grow and reflecting on the past to better understand the journey ahead. Be willing to take on a challenge, whatever the outcome.
My hero is my mum. She showed me the meaning of strength and resilience and kindness to others.
My name is Debra and I was born in Launceston, Tasmania.
My three children and I moved to Queensland in September 2003, it took us quite a few months to adjust to the heat and we were often found sitting in front of a pedestal fan with a frozen washer on our head, not a good look but it worked a treat.
I met my wonderful husband 14 years ago, I feel very lucky to have met such a kind and caring man.
The things that are important in life are spending time with my family and my beautiful grandsons, I love playing with them as this gives me a legitimate excuse for acting like a big kid.
In my spare time I enjoy scrap booking, this is not just a hobby but a labour of love, every photo is a memory for my family and a link to their ancestry. I love being outside, and I like to potter in the garden. I love music and dancing; I did line dancing for 5 years and even competed in a competition. I enjoy having a joke and a laugh, I sometimes laugh when I shouldn’t but that’s just me.
I have lived experience of having someone in the family with a disability, when my brother was born, there were complications during his birth, and these resulted him having an intellectual impairment, visual impairment, developmental delay and epilepsy. It was during this period of time that a lot of people with a disability were in institutions or not seen out.
My dad ensured that my brother was included in all aspects of our life and he was loved and nurtured. At 5 years old my brother still couldn’t sit up unaided, there was no adaptive equipment to help him sit except for a couple of pillows behind his back or me sitting behind him in the bath and holding him. I will always be his support.
The person that I admire, and respect is my dad, He was a quiet, kind man, and a hard worker and an exceptional person, I believe it is through my dad’s patience, belief and perseverance that my brother is who he is today.
I believe we all have an ability to learn, we just need to find how the person learns best, it’s not about how long it takes, just believe it’s possible.
I have always felt an inner reward when helping people, before becoming a support worker I used to volunteer at Home and Community Care. I loved chatting to the older people and listening to the stories about their lives.
I have been employed by CFN for 14 years. I have held a varied and diverse number of positions within the organisation from developmental lifestyle support worker both within the family home and out in the community, Team Leader at Short Term Accommodation and staff trainer. My strength is supporting people with challenging behaviour by using a proactive response and identifying the function of the behaviour. I have been privileged to be able to have provided support and formed some long lasting friendships to some wonderful individuals.