News & Updates

CENTRE UPDATES

Placement at the Greenacre Area Community Centre

Jenny Nguyen – Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Sydney

28/10/2020

The Greenacre Area Community Centre has been committed to supporting me in my professional development as a social worker. This community development placement has provided me with many valuable learning opportunities, transferable social work practice skills and knowledge. These include observing and participating in the centre’s programs and services. These programs and services are Tuning Into Kids, Peaceful Kids, Transition to School, the establishment of a Youth Opportunities Projects, Food Share, Work Development Order (WDO), playgroups, school holiday activities, doing administrative tasks, attending staff meetings and inter-agencies meetings.

The Greenacre Area Community Centre is a close-knit team consisting of a community and development worker, playgroup coordinators, child and family counsellor, admin worker and an executive officer. The team has been very supportive, respectful and understanding towards me and has made me feel like I am part of their family. I have the wonderful opportunity of working closely with the child and family counsellor, Hannah. However, I also have the opportunity to be actively involved in the community centre with the other workers as well.

This placement has enriched me with more knowledge and transferrable skills that I can use for my future social work practice. This includes my communication skills, community development skills and theoretical knowledge.

Within any field of practice, it is crucial to have good communication skills. This placement has helped me further develop my communication skills, especially with children and families. I can effectively communicate, adapt, and cater to each individual’s communication style through the appropriate use of verbal and non-verbal communication. For example, in Playgroup, my interactions with children would involve me using simple vocabulary and being aware of my tone and body language. Whereas, my interactions with parents would involve me actively listening and using appropriate language that they understand. Additionally, a very valuable skill for my future social work practice is active listening. Active listening is an important skill to have because it helps build rapport with clients and understand what their needs are instead of telling them what is best for them.

Working with communities has given me the ability to further develop my community development skills such as understanding community consultation processes, conducting needs analysis, program planning, program development, and promotion. Since, the GACC is a “one-stop-shop” for information, support, and community engagement. Whilst, also focusing on expanding opportunities for disadvantaged people. For example, I was able to take part in planning a “Youth Opportunities Program” to break down barriers and increase young people’s access to and inclusion in the community.

Theoretical knowledge is essential in social work as it helps explain the individual’s situation, gives an understanding of how the environment affects behaviours, and guides our strategies and interventions when working with clients. The theoretical knowledge that I have attained from university classes and placement has been very beneficial and I am able to apply social work theory to practice. The prominent theories that I have used during placement are systems theory, attachment theory, community development theory, and many more.

The Greenacre Area Community Centre has provided me with a such a great placement as it allowed me the opportunity for me to be out of my comfort zone to grow, learn and reflect on myself as a social worker.

CENTRE UPDATES

Calm, Peaceful Kids

These past school holidays, we offered two skill based workshops run by our Child and Family Counsellor Hannah Watters, for local children in primary school. These workshops are part of our Family Empowerment Program, which aims to provide a number of activities and services to local families that strengthen resilience and promote family wellbeing.

Our Calm, Peaceful Kids workshop was designed to teach children positive coping strategies they can use in their daily lives, for feelings of stress and anxiety. The activities included yoga, deep breathing, mediation, mindfulness work, therapeutic arts and crafts, as well as a chance to have fun and make new friends!

Through evidence based theories we can help facilitate a learning space for children to understand how to explore various feelings and thoughts in a comfortable way. There are many factors that contribute to mental health, and children can learn about the importance of acknowledging emotions and strategies to deal with them. These tools can be used in daily life and help to develop to resilience and strength. 

Children practiced these skills in a safe environment, while meeting other children in the community. This was a great opportunity to make new friends and learn something new together.

Hannah has a wealth of professional knowledge and experience, having worked with children and families for over ten years. Her enthusiasm paired with her theoretical knowledge and experience, meant she was equipped to facilitate this successful program.

The feedback from the children and families who attended was overwhelmingly positive and this program was booked out with a long waiting list. School Holiday Activities will occur again during the summer holidays. Please call and register your expression of interest prior to the holidays 9750 7982.

Tax Help Program

The Greenacre Area Community Centre has a long history of partnering with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) to provide the Tax Help Program. This is a free service which assists people in the community to complete their tax return.

An experienced volunteer, ATO trained and accredited, is allocated to our centre through the program.  This year, Mohammad Norm is our volunteer. Mohamed is a local community member with an expertise is accounting and a passion for helping others.

To be eligible for Tax Help Program you must have an income of around $60,000 or less and not:

  • Work as a contractor
  • Run a business, including sole trader
  • Have partnerships or trust matters
  • Sell shares or an investment property
  • Own a rental property
  • Have a capital gains tax (CGT)
  • Receive royalties
  • Receive distributions from a trust, other than a managed fund
  • Receive foreign income, other than a foreign pension or annuity 

Why not get the guidance you need to lodge your tax return correctly and efficiently through this service? One hour sessions are available Thursdays 10am – 2pm until 29/10/2020. Please call and book your appointment: 9750 7982

https://www.ato.gov.au/individuals/lodging-your-tax-return/tax-help-program/

CENTRE UPDATES

Playgroup Explores “The Five Senses”

Over the last three months Greenacre Area Community Centre has operated, like many others, remotely. Playgroup moved online and a new mode of playgroup emerged. This online delivery has been a fun new way for children to interact during lock down, but now we are returning to the centre.

We are excited to bring playgroup back to the centre in two small groups to ensure a COVID safe program and as a great opportunity to meet our two NEW playgroup coordinators. Fresh energy from Sue and Sumrah, who both have great experience working with children at both pre-school and school. Together they are combining forces to bring you brand new creative sessions that will help educate and inspire our children. Sue has previously worked in primary school education and loves how socialisation plays a fundamental role for children’s cognitive development. Sue brings enthusiasm and a great wealth of experience to her work. Sumrah is a playgroup educator at another centre and loves working with young children, Sumrah brings creativity and joy to her work. Together the playgroup team will get to know our families over the next few weeks and learn about what is important for them when coming to playgroup.

The new team will bring you their August program, working with the five senses; sight, smell, touch and hearing/sound. Over the month children will get to explore, learn and play through these themes. The sessions will include hands on activities, singing, dancing and story time. We will also incorporate sessions with our family counsellor Hannah Watters and a local nurse will discuss any issues with hearing.

Playgroup is about making connections for both children and adults, bringing the community together regularly we can get to know each other and build strong relationships. Share experiences and help our children grow and learn in a safe and friendly environment.

Remember enrolment for playgroup is essential and due to COVID-19 places are limited. We have two separate sessions running from 10am-11.30am. If you are new to playgroup you must book in for a playgroup orientation appointment. To meet the playgroup team you can call the centre on 9750 7982 – appointments are available on Wednesdays between 1.30pm-2.30pm. We look forward to welcoming our regular families back and meeting some new families this term.

 

Success Story: Food Hamper Drive Thru

A fast-acting response meeting at the very beginning of COVID-19 brought the Greenacre Area Community Centre staff together to adapt and pivot our strategy. We could see a growing need for essential items, especially food.

We created our Food Hamper Drive Thru project, facilitated by our community development worker. Since April we are happy to announce we have provided over 600 food bags to you, our community. Thanks to the generous work of our volunteers each week we have helped to ensure food is available in the community.

This has been frontline work, continuing during lock down and providing our clients with a chance to have a social moment when times are tough. Over the phone and at the front door we have built friendships, sharing lock down stories and experiences.

This has been logistically challenging, but thanks to staff flexibility we have been able to make this project a continual success. Working with Food Bank Australia has helped to make the project possible, along with generous donations from the community when basic items were hard to find.

Remember that our Food Hamper Drive Thru continues, come the centre on Fridays between 10.30am-12.30pm to get your bag, or call 9750 7982 for more information. The bag costs $2 and we look forward to welcoming new faces at a safe physical distance! If you are in need of food items, remember you can also visit The Staples Bag in Campsie. A great place to pick up some produce at cheaper prices during this time.

The Greenacre Area Community Centre Team.