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‘Amazing journey’ of care spans 20 years

After 20 years of caring of local children, Gina McGrath has retired as an Intereach Family Day Care provider. 

Gina started her Family Day Care with Intereach  on December 4, 1999 when her son, Shane, was in Grade 3 and her daughter, Melinda, was only in Kindergarten, as she loved working with and educating young children.  

She retired exactly 20 years to the day, on Wednesday, December 4. 

At a farewell function organised by Intereach staff, Gina reflected on her career in Early Childhood Education. 

“We used to be labelled ‘babysitters’ or just ‘childcare minders’, but after the introduction of the Early Years Learning Framework and the training delivered by Intereach and external organisations, we can now proudly call ourselves ‘Family Day Care Educators’,” Gina said. The EYLF describes the principles, practices and outcomes that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. 

Gina has worked hard to ensure the children that come to her are getting the valuable skills for life which are often taught through play-based learning.  

“I have been a teacher, mother, father, nurse, role model, programmer, negotiator, social worker, cleaner etcetera. This can be all in one day,” she said. 

Over her 20 years’ service, Gina has enriched the lives of more 100 children through her Family Day Care. 

“Some of the kids who I’ve cared for are now graduating university. It makes me proud knowing that in some small way I helped them achieve that outcome,” she said. 

Gina is now looking forward to spending more time in the garden with her husband, Maurice, as well as renovating their house and enjoying more travel. 

“I must give a massive thank you to my husband for all the love and support he has given me over these years. He is such a wonderful man and he enjoys seeing the children as much as I do. 

“I would say the last 20 years have been the busiest years of our lives. We will miss the children coming in and out of our home, but I am looking forward to spending more time with my family, doing the things that we always wanted to do and exploring different places,” Gina said. 

At the farewell function in her honour Gina also gave special mention to her Intereach co-educators and support staff. 

Thank you for all your ongoing support, understanding, guidance, mentoring, training, advice and tips.  It really helped me a lot to become a better educator and grow professionally. 

“My Family Day Care experience over 20 years was an amazing journey and I will treasure this for the rest of my life,” she said. 

Intereach staff congratulated Gina on her 20 years of service, wished her all the best in retirement and made special mention of her commitment and dedication to ongoing professional learning to provide the highest quality education and care to families and their children. 

If you would like more information about Family Day Care or any of Intereach’s many community services, phone the toll free number 1300 488 226 or visit www.intereach.com.au 

 

Image : Family Day Care program manager Rebecca Fitzpatrick (left), Family Day Care educator Gina McGrath, Child Development Coordinator Marie Broadbent (right)

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Growth and Strength

The growth and strength of community service provider Intereach was highlighted at its annual general meeting on Thursday November 28.

In her annual report, chair Pat Fogarty explained 2019 had been a time of “accomplishment, success, change, growth and challenges”.

“As the new organisational structure and strategic plan have been handed down it is pleasing to report that while we have experienced significant change to the senior management, great achievements have been reached delivering upon our strategic plan.

“Consolidating our footprint, we officially opened four new premises and refurbished three.

“Enabling the communities in which we work in to be inclusive and resilient continues to be our ongoing goal, particularly in these tough times of drought.” Mrs Fogarty reported.

Intereach provides a vast range of community services, having grown of the past 40 years from its humble beginnings in Deniliquin with a couple of employees, to a major organisation that works across the Riverina/Murray, northern and central Victoria and the Mallee.

Mrs Fogarty made special mention of its current resourceful staff teams and leaders under the innovative direction of CEO Keryn Fox, “for their ongoing resilience, determination and shared sense of purpose in remaining focused upon the end goal” which is to strengthen and improve social and personal well-being for individuals, families and communities.

The effort of staff under the direction of Ms Fox was a consistent theme at the AGM including outstanding results from a staff survey which highlighted an overwhelming sense of achievement and satisfaction.

“The board congratulates and sincerely thanks our staff and volunteers for your ongoing dedication and commitment, and while we believe new horizons are before us, we are grounded and honoured by the grass-root services that you have proudly delivered over many decades.” Mrs Fogarty said.

In her CEO’s report, Ms Fox spoke about a busy and challenging year with many highlights, including the first 12 months as the Early Childhood Early Intervention provider in the Goulburn, Mallee and Murrumbidgee areas, and the Local Area Coordination provider in the Goulburn and Mallee areas for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Other contracts across the Intereach footprint have been extended.

“Among the many other highlights was the launch of our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2018 to 2020, the opening of Intereach offices in Shepparton, Mildura, Swan Hill and Seymour, and the introduction of video conferencing technology which has led to a sizeable reduction in the number of hours our staff members are spending on the road and away from home.

“One area in which I was particularly proud this past year was our increased investment in the personal and professional development of staff, mainly through the introduction of the Intereach First Forums held in Deniliquin and Shepparton.

“The feedback from staff was so overwhelmingly positive, it is now a bi-annual event and another two functions have been held in Bendigo and Albury. Staff development is one of my passions and I can’t thank our staff enough for the way they have stepped up and the professionalism they have shown during such a dramatic period of growth and change”.

“It is the commitment and dedication shown by our staff, Board and volunteers that allows Intereach to continue making a significant difference to the lives of people in our communities” Ms Fox said.

At the annual meeting retiring directors Rebecca Bates, Annette Radford, Di Rinalid and Clive Gow were re-elected unopposed. They join Pat Fogarty, Rob Brown and Andrew Johnstone who are continuing their volunteer role on the Board.

Auditor Peter Rae spoke at the AGM about the financial strength of the organisation and the outstanding financial result for the 2018-19 year, while also outlining risks that need to be managed to ensure Intereach continues to have a strong and productive future.

Intereach now has 16 office locations with the head office in Deniliquin and employs about 380 staff. To learn more about Intereach and its services go to www.intereach.com.au or phone the toll free number 1300 488 226.

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Open day set to be regular event

A temporary transformation came over the Intereach car park for the community service provider’s inaugural open day, on Thursday.

It became the hub for information stalls, refreshments and entertainment for the crowds which made their way to the Trickett St location.

The open day, which is likely to become a biennial event, was organised by an Intereach team under the direction of Executive Director of Operations Sam Hall, who was delighted with the public’s response.

“The growth of Intereach has been beyond all expectations, and we felt there were people in our community who are not fully aware of the vast range of services we now provide.

“We are also a major employer across a large geographic area offering numerous career opportunities, and we saw the open day as a chance to highlight what we offer,” Mr Hall said.

But it was not only Intereach services on display at the open day, with local police also on hand with a police car for youngsters to inspect and bags of goodies to give away.

Members of Deniliquin Rotary Club cooked a delicious barbecue with hamburgers, sausages and even kangaroo kebabs provided to the crowd, which included school groups from Deniliquin High, St Michael’s, Edward Public and Conargo.

Free drinks and ice-creams, plus a jumping castle and face-painting for the young (and young at heart) capped off the array of activities, which were enjoyed while visitors listened to the delightful voice of young local singer Zara Lindeman.

A Welcome to Country was delivered by local Aboriginal elder Stephen Charles and those present were officially welcomed by Intereach Chair Pat Fogarty. Local business owner and exercise physiologist Barb Anderson outlined her involvement with Intereach, both at a professional and personal level, and

Edward River Council Mayor Norm Brennan offered his congratulations to the organisation as part of the formalities.

There were also tours of the Intereach facilities, including its well-equipped Family Centre and the administration headquarters, which also provides meeting rooms and a community space for various organisations.

As the open day came to an end the marquees were dismantled and the car parking area returned to normal, before a large crowd gathered inside for the Intereach annual general meeting at which the highlights of another year of growth and success were a feature.

 

 

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'Intereach Open Day' poster

Lots of family fun at Intereach Open Day 

 

Deniliquin’s biggest community success story will be on display later this month, showcasing its achievements and informing the public about its activities and operations.
The Intereach Open Day will be held on Thursday, November 28. 

It is designed as a fun day for the family, with lots of entertainment, live music, give-aways and a few surprises.
Intereach CEO Keryn Fox said the organisation’s growth had been so rapid, especially in the past decade, that many people may not be aware of the vast range of services that it now provides. 

“We believe hosting an open day at our Deniliquin headquarters to showcase what we are all about is a way to increase our community involvement, and also a chance to thank the local community for all the support we receive,” Ms Fox said. 

At the open day there will be activities for all ages, from a jumping castle that the children will enjoy, to over 65s exercise classes.
There will be giant games, information tables, live music, give-aways, a free barbecue and refreshments.

“Everyone is welcome to this free, family-friendly event,” Ms Fox said.
“Our staff will be on hand so local people can learn more about Intereach’s services and the vast range of employment opportunities we now offer. 

“From humble beginnings when we were the Council for Social Development, we have had several name changes and a huge increase in the services we provide.
“Our headquarters proudly remains in Deniliquin, but Intereach now has 16 offices stretching throughout southern New South Wales and the Riverina, across the border into central and northern Victoria, and west into the Mallee. 

“Across our footprint, as well as providing vital services to all these communities we offer employment opportunities that support towns and their residents.
“So if you have ever wondered about the work we do or the careers we help develop, here is your chance to find out,” Ms Fox said. 

“Or if you just want a fun day out, pop along and enjoy our hospitality,” she added.
At the end of the open day the Intereach annual general meeting will be held, and the board’s current chair, Pat Fogarty, invites everyone to also attend this event. 

The Intereach Deniliquin office is located at the corner of Napier and Trickett Sts, and entry to the open day will be via the Trickett St carpark. 

If you would like more information about the open day or any of Intereach’s many community services, phone the toll free number 1300 488 226 or visit www.intereach.com.au 

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