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20 Years of Service

Kerry Marshall

27th November

 

This week Kerry Marshall celebrated 20 years of service at Westcare. 

Kerry’s career with Westcare began in a case management role. From there she co-ordinated LAC (looking after children).

From there Kerry moved into the training team, where she was a valued member for more than 12 years.

Kerry now works as Westcare's Family Therapist and Training Consultant.  

She provides reflective practice services as well as debriefing and training.

Stella, who has worked with Kerry for over 10 years, reflected that Kerry is “well loved and respected member of Westcare”

“[She’s an] incredibly dynamic and collaborative team member of Westcare. Kerry has the best sense of humour and ability to enage anybody”

 

Kerry Marshall

Jill Wain & Gail Walton

29th May

Today Westcare celebrated 20 years of service for both Gail Walton and Jill Wain.

Staff and carers joined Gail and Jill at Westcare’s Sunshine Office and reflected on their journey.

During Gail's presentation, Peter Mulholland, John Avent, Chris Jones, Katie Hooper and Bernie Marientelli reflected warmly on her accomplishments so far in her career. 

Gail currently works as Recruitment and Training Co-Ordinator but began her career at Westcare in Residential Care in 1994.

In 1996, she took over management of her unit and in 1999, Gail moved into Westcare’s Sunshine office, working in the adolescent program.

“Initially I was doing some case work and I also had the portfolio for recruitment and training of Foster Carers. Eventually that became my position… never stopped doing it ever since!”

Gail has held her position in Publicity and Recruitment for 15 years.

In reflecting on her career, she recognises setting up the unit she managed as a highlight.

She emphasized the importance in creating an environment for young people that is familiar and inviting. 

“We were just workers but this was their home.”

As well as her work in the unit, being able to present at conferences across Victoria, interstate and in Canada has also been an incredible experience. Her passion for training and further learning also opened an opportunity for Gail to participate in a study tour in America, where she was selected by The Salvation Army to participate. 

“It makes you realise how good of a job we were doing at Westcare.”

She also added the value of being able to “pick up tips about what other people do overseas and interstate.”

Gail further reflected with enthusiasm about the quality of training at Westcare.

“We’ve become the expert at Westcare regarding training and assessing trainers and we have that tender at DHHS to show others.”

Gail’s tireless work has been recognised with many awards, including the Hope Quiet Achiever Award in 2012 as well as multiple years of service awards.

As a Carer herself, Gail heavily invests her own dedication and devotion to young people in care through her role in publicity and recruitment. 

“For me… working in partnership with Carers, valuing what they are doing as a Carer myself I have that empathy and know what its like to care for someone else’s child,”

“When you have that lens, you have that perspective & understand the journey those Carers go through.” “Jill, she’s been a Carer too,” she added.

Lastly, Gail credited the strong organisational culture at Westcare for her own personal and professional development.

“With Westcare, being able to work autonomously and develop my position…that’s been really great, developing partnership and working with other agencies and organisations within our sector has been really good.”

“We have that longevity with workers at Westcare.”

Longevity was at the heart of today's celebrations at Westcare. 

In Jill's presentation there was a moving video from the young people in her care at Melton Foster Care. John Avent, Karlie Miles, Chris Jones and Peter Mulholland shared words on Jill's journey. Carers Leonie and Sandra emphasised Jill's accomplishments at Melton Foster Care.

Jill first started at Westcare’s Melton Foster Care in 1995 as Manager. In the beginning, she was the sole worker and recalled that she started off with just 6 caregivers.

Across her 20 year career at Westcare, her primary highlight has been “The commitment and dedication of staff and caregivers.”

Jill emphasised her passion for "trying to get the best outcomes for children and families and being respected as being a advocate for children and the parents of children in care.”

She has also been selected to represent Westcare Melton Foster Care as a Key Note speaker both in Melbourne and overseas.

So far thoughout her career, her hard work and dedication has also been awarded with:

- Highly recommended for the Major Doug Thomas Human Dignity Award Memorial Award 2012 

 - Sir John Reid Community Service Award in 2005 from the Melbourne Rotary Club.

Jill reflects with pride on watching Melton Foster Care transform, noting:

“Seeing the program grow for its small beginnings to what is today with 27 Caregivers and a target of 37 kids being able to be placed on any one night."

"Just being her for 20 years show that it must be a great organisation to work for.”

The greatest rewards for Jill are at the very core of her work; helping young people and supporting their families.

"[I am passionate about] a positive culture and an acceptance of birth families and the role they play in the lives of children in care that is respected and upheld by staff and caregivers." 

"Being supported by Management particularly John Avent who was always prepared to listen to my somewhat wacky ideas and let me give them a go.  Seeing my dream of a friendly environment for children and families to have contact with family and friends with our purpose build premises officially being opened in 2001 and is now the envy of many other agencies."

Speakers included current and former staff members at Westcare, carers at Melton Foster Care, former general manager John Avent and Katie Hooper from FCAV