Angela: The face of our organisation

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It seems that behind every one of the people who access our services there are hidden talents and achievements as Grant J Everett discovered when he spoke to Angela at Newcastle…

Angela works as a receptionist at Flourish Australia’s Hunter Street branch in downtown Newcastle. Angela’s position is a supported employment role that she’s been provided under the Work Incentive Scheme. This makes Angela the face of Flourish Australia, as she’ll often be one of the first points of in-person contact that somebody new will have with our organisation. As you’d expect, the main part of Angela’s job is to meet people as they arrive and make them feel welcome and at ease. However, like many of our employees at Hunter Street, Angela’s specific duties can change from day to day and hour to hour, but she’s always happy to chip in whenever she’s needed.

Like all good receptionists, Angela is a real people person by nature, and one of the greatest pleasures of her job is seeing newcomers reach the point where they feel safe enough to let their shields down. Angela loves spending time with the other regulars at Hunter Street, and she’s passionate about encouraging them to believe in their own potential and to reach for their goals and dreams. As our organisation prizes acceptance and inclusion, Angela is doing a great job of upholding our ideals.

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Angela is involved with a lot of stuff beyond her day job, too. She recently joined a committee for inpatient and community mental health for the Lake Macquarie Region, she’s an advocate for Hunter New England Mental Health, and she’s also a part of an ISMHU (Intermediate Stay Mental Health Unit) committee. To top it all off, Angela is also reconnecting with her career as a professional house DJ.

 

Remixed and Remastered

Angela has achieved an impressive amount of success in her twelve years as a DJ, and so far she’s been able to spin her turntables as far as North America, South America and Europe. She’s performed at high profile parties and other events, and one of her most unique sets was at an old French castle. A big highlight of Angela’s many notable achievements was being accepted into the elite Red Bull Music Academy in Brazil in 2002 to represent Australia. The RBMA is a prestigious institution that specialises in finding and nurturing the trend-setting musical pioneers of tomorrow.

In case you haven’t heard of it, SoundCloud allows musicians, singers and DJs to share their material with a worldwide audience for free. In fact, some of the artists on SoundCloud are household names

Angela started her career in the backrooms of Melbourne clubs. Unlike the deafening, high-octane doof-doof music that most places were playing around that time, Angela was one of several DJs who helped to pioneer “deep house”, a slower, more ambient kind of house music. Over time Angela’s style evolved to become a type known as “universal love”, a unique sound of her own creation. Angela made a lasting imprint on the local clubbing landscape with universal love, and as her star was rising she arranged music nights and other events to help local artists make their own mark.

angela-maison-harmon

Things have changed a lot over Angela’s career as a DJ. For starters, being a part of the industry nowadays means that you’ll have to actively promote yourself with Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud, as it’s a fact that no modern DJ could hope to make it without a major social media presence. So, rather than just keeping up with friends and sharing cat memes like the rest of us, Angela uses social media as a platform to create, share and promote herself (and other artists).

Angela & Alana

Like many of us who have experienced a successful recovery journey, Angela had somebody who believed in her and encouraged her when she needed it the most. In Angela’s case, this role was filled by Alana Mondy, the Senior Peer Worker from Hunter Street.

Angela’s first visit from Alana was while she was an in-patient at the Intermediate Stay Mental Health Unit at James Fletcher Hospital (ISMHU). Alana had already visited this unit on many occasions, as a part of Alana’s role as a Senior Peer Worker is to encourage people who are in-patients at ISMHU to reconnect with the community. Angela was a bit reclusive and hesitant around the time they met, but Alana could clearly tell that Angela would benefit from getting out and about more, and Angela eventually made the choice to trust her. It soon became clear that they had a lot in common and shared many of the same values. Over the following weeks Angela would stray further and further out of her comfort zone, and this time of transition gave Angela a great opportunity to redefine who she was and what she wanted from life. Soon, she began to work towards her goals and dreams again.

As Alana is a musician herself (in the folk punk genre, to be exact), she has continually encouraged Angela to reengage with her passion for music. This has mostly involved performing in small clubs and local cafes, but Angela recently took part in the Newcastle Fringe Festival, a huge multi-day event for musos, dancers, singers, poets, artists, directors, performers, entertainers and other creative types. Angela’s venue at the Fringe Festival was the Newcastle Cathedral, and she told a story from Greek mythology titled “Artemis Cocoon” as a soundscape.

The Future?

Twelve months on, Angela is still learning who she is and where she fits in the world, but she’s amazed with how much things have already changed. Alana continues to provide her with structured one-on-one support as a part of her personal NDIS plan, and also assists her with organising her creative endeavours. They continue to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for each other.

Next time in Panorama, we’ll be talking to Angela about a little project of hers that may just be a ticket to success in a whole new field…sorry, no spoilers!

 

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