Last night I attended a presentation by the team to parents and professionals. I was impressed by the number of people attending (our Cairns community isn't know for participating in these types of events ...), but there was so much more to be impressed by!
You should have seen our guys! Public speaking isn't usually associated with working in this sector. It's not easy to pluck up the courage and speak in front of a group of people - whether you know your stuff or not! ... and knowing their stuff was not a problem.
First up was Nettie (our CEO). She's been off work for the last couple of days with flu. Feeling awful and having no voice did not stop her 😂. There she was introducing our wonderful team and new range of services for young adults. I don't want this blog to be a 'sell' of our services, but just as a little background, we had an ah-ha moment a little while ago when we realised we'd taken our eye off the ball.
Our Hub participants are getting older! Honestly - kids just keep growing up! You should see some of the photos from a couple of years ago. They all look so young!
Our lightening bulb moment was when we realised new school leavers would see our current Hub participant as 'old'. Even though our 'cut-off' age for new participants is around 24, people who are already with us aren't asked to leave. Once you're in, you're in - unless you decide to leave, but since this isn't really happening right now (I guess it will at some point?), our group is looking older, and let's face it, this is going to be intimidating for fresh, young school leavers.
It also occurred to us that as our Hub guys have become older and more mature, they want different things from the program, compared to when they were school leavers. Not only that, last year we had a couple of deaf participants join the program, and this broadened thoughts even further about the range of needs we should be targeting.
As I listened to presentations by Trudy, Shannyn and Linda (our program leaders), I watched a couple of our program participants discretely moving through the room serving food and drinks. Not only this, I watched other GSL team members lending a hand with running the night and lavishing moral support where needed. What a team!
To appreciate this 'behind the scenes' effort is one thing, but through the presentation, Trudy talked about the work efforts of Hub participants. It caught my attention - this is no small thing. I don't want to take away from any of the other program activities that they covered, and I know a huge push from participants is all the social activities, but seriously - the team are kicking some serious work readiness and work participation goals.
Hub participants are into recycling, and have hooked up with local businesses so they are making some real money. Then, more recently, they bought a coffee machine with the money they'd earned in their recycling venture, learned barista skills and launched 'Meet & Eat' (cafe). Participants are learning skills; they are making money; and, they are deciding how to invest their hard earned cash in their next venture.
Our team are doing so well with our guys (program participants); and our guys are just doing so well in general. I think this is well worth a pat on the back. Trudy and Linda are absolute champions, and now we have Shannyn joining the crew. How lucky are we and how lucky are our participants!