Alisha and Andrew work in the Gympie Anglicare Children and Families team, assisting foster carers every step of the way through ‘You Be You’, Anglicare Southern Queensland’s foster care program.
Alisha has worked for the organisation for more than 12 years and Andrew, known by many as ‘Andy’, has been with the team for the past four years, two-and-a-half as a practitioner and the past one-and-a-half as a coordinator.
Andy manages a team of dedicated practitioners who provide training, education and support to volunteer foster carers who support children 24/7.
“I really enjoy when children and young adults who I have supported previously approach me in the street to catch up and update me on how they are going and what they are up to,” Andy said.
“My goal this year is to increase the pool of approved carers so local children are supported to stay in Gympie, and allow You Be You to match the right carer with the right children, creating safe, stable and supportive care provision.”
The team helps recruit carers, meeting and training everyday people to help improve the lives of children and young people in need. This ensures that kids are safe, supported and loved.
The Gympie Children and Families team works with around 75 foster carers through You Be You, and are on the lookout for more carers.
Alisha, a wife and mum of four children, said she enjoys working in a team where people hold great passion for young people and carers, and where the team is focused daily on great outcomes and achievements for both carers and young people.
“As a practitioner I recruit, train, assess and support foster and kinship carers to meet the individual needs of children and young people in out-of-home care. I also ensure the targeted level of support is provided to all care placements to ensure stability,” she said.
“A regular day at work for me is meeting with people and talking with them about foster care and helping them decide if foster care is the right journey for them. If it is, then supporting them through the required training and assessment process.
“How incredible are our carers who are volunteering their time to provide such an important role in a young person’s life? The kids and carers are the true reason I come to work.
“My favourite part is working alongside carers, empowering them to support a child or young person in the best way they are able to. It’s life changing for a child.”
Andy said the aspect he most enjoys relates to the people he works with who have a shared vision for helping young people.
“The people I work with have a shared passion, values and motivation to support our local young people in out-of-home care, and supporting them and their care providers to address trauma, break down barriers, and watch them grow into young successful adults,” he said.
“The young people that we shape today are our leaders of tomorrow, so let’s encourage and empower our young people to achieve their best.”
For those considering becoming a foster carer, Alisha said the team at You Be You are easy to talk to and can help you throughout the process.
“Often, people tell me, ‘I have thought about fostering for years, but never thought I could do it’ or they will say ‘we were nervous about making contact’. The staff at You Be You are easy to talk to and are very approachable and I personally, would love spending time with you to help you decide if foster care might be the right thing for you,” she said.
“My favourite positive experience as a practitioner is seeing young people feel a sense of connection in a safe relationship! You can visibly see the healing.”
“Remember, everybody needs somebody, you might be that somebody to make that change for a child or young person!”
Outside of work, Andy is learning to run on his prosthetic limb and is aiming to play local basketball in Gympie and to enjoy playing basketball with his twin 17-year-old boys and his wife Paula.
He also enjoys four-wheel driving with his family and volunteering on the Board of Community Action Inc. Gympie.
Alisha loves the country and being outside and loves horse riding, motorbike riding, swimming, cooking and sitting around a nice warm fire!
To find out more, please visit Anglicare’s You Be You or contact our Gympie office on 07 5480 4700.