By Konnie Magalhaes
Nancy has been working with Flourish Australia for over a decade. She works very hard and is very passionate about her job and it keeps her well.
She has also been working on herself, too, in detail. She is aware of the challenges that she must deal with to keep physically and mentally well.
Nancy wished to further her professional development and find work that it more meaningful for her. That is why she decided to engage in “support planning.”
As a support planner in Flourish Australia’s Community Businesses, my role was to work alongside employees to support them in identifying pathways to their employment and other goals.
Nancy wished to combine her experience in catering at Figtree Conference Centre with her passion for the Cafe Experience which she enjoys so much. Nancy and her husband go to their local coffee shop where she winds down and just enjoys the moment.
She says, though, “I would like to work in an area where I can contribute to other people’s experience.” So in the journey of supporting Nancy to fulfil her dream, we identified the goal of becoming a Barista in a coffee shop.
The journey to this goal will not be made without effort. There are many things to consider.
You might even consider some of these things as “barriers”, a term often used in the employment field. Nevertheless, Nancy acknowledges their existence in her attempt to succeed!
“Nancy is a trooper…she happily paid for the course out of her own pocket.”
And Nancy is a trooper when it comes to following her passions. Although she has lived experience of mental health issues, the main issue that presented itself was the challenge of developing her memory.
To start off, Nancy decided to go off to coffee training school. She happily paid for the course out of her own pocket.
Then I went in search of someone who would serve as a guiding mentor to support Nancy during the classes, by taking notes for her among other things. We found an amazing mentor who could address any questions she would have about aspects of the course that were not clear. The mentor, a skilled barista herself, would also help her to master these skills.
She would also provide Nancy support in revising the materials, continuing to mentor her after the course had finished.
Soon Nancy wanted to expand her goals to address travel training and baking classes!
There was not just one option was viable for the future, but two! Nancy could work in a coffee shop as a barista, or she could bake for a small bakery or even and more exciting work hard for very long and become a small business owner and bake small orders for little events and little bakeries.
We then found another worker who is a chef, savvy in the culinary arts, marketing and business. In getting to this stage, everything seemed just a dream…but then Nancy went to the training, did the hard work and all the homework, and is now about to start her baking classes.
Achieving dreams requires much effort, and a bit of support and guidance. Nancy is very happy and fully active and engaged in reaching her own dreams.
We are also lucky enough to have been able to find someone who is willing to help and support people who are vulnerable to have a better life. Someone like Raphael who is the café owner at Paddington Saturday Market who has a heart to help disadvantaged people including the homeless, orphans, and people who are vulnerable.
When I contacted Raphael and shared the story of Nancy’s goals, dreams and also her challenges, Raphael was willing to help out. He did this by allowing Nancy to gain work experience at his café on Saturday. So Nancy will have a support worker to work alongside her while she is gaining real work experience outside of Flourish Australia at the Paddington Saturday Market cafe!
…is one of the best things for mental health recovery.
Work provides financial security and improves your lifestyle
Work contributes to your sense of meaning, purpose and self esteem
Work puts you into contact with potential friends and supporters
Flourish Australia’s specialised Disability Employment Services can support you in your employment and recovery