(Photos taken at the Multicultural gathering December 5. Thanks to everyone else in the pics too! Imy looking particularly speccy in the green paper crown.)
CHO has had the great good fortune to be supported in our first steps into the world this year by the Flinders Uni School of Social Work, in particular the wonderful Fiona Verity (student supervisor and community developer extraordinaire), and a terrific social work student, the marvellous Imy (Imogen), who has been with us on her placement since July. She has had some tricky times over the past few months, but has stuck it out through all the ups and downs. She started with another student, but her colleague had to finish the placement early – she unexpectedly became pregnant and had a very difficult time with sickness (we miss you Ki). This meant that Imy has had to cope on her own a lot, and had to work much more than would ideally be the case with no off-sider. I have been really impressed by Imy’s unflappability, her courage in trying new things, and her strength in pushing for what she needs and what is right for her.
Imy has had a lot of new experiences on her placement. She’s been interviewed on the radio, she’s been a key organiser of a major fund raiser, she’s helped set up the office and our facebook page, she’s produced fliers, been to meetings, taken minutes, organised get-togethers, set up and packed up events, she’s done craft, made butterflies for the upcoming butterfly walk, she’s attended training, supported others in the community and workers too (including me most particularly!), she’s written reports and helped with grants, and she’s worked on a new project (Stories from the South). There’s no way CHO would have achieved what it has these past few months without her contributions.
Since she started I have seen her confidence with people grow, I’ve noticed what a good listener she is, how willing she is to try out new things and how committed she is to treating people fairly and giving everyone a go. She has said that up till now she has not had a lot of experience with community activities – it is challenging to do this work, especially when you haven’t had much background in it. It is hard not to feel self-conscious, and perhaps anxious about relating to people who may be very different to yourself. I have felt really inspired by her openness, her sensitivity to people and her willingness to take on challenges.
We are all learning at CHO, and it has been really important to me to have the chance to think again about what it is like to be new to this work – to see the uncertainty of it all, but also the creativity, the hopefulness and the openness to new ideas and new ways of doing things. That is what I have learnt over the past 5 months or so from Imy and from the placement. Thanks a lot Imy and all the very best for the future – we’ll miss you, but hopefully you might be around the traps again for your next placement.