Meet Wendy and little Emilie- one of our lovely Carers and bubbas from our Vicki Vidor OAM Young Parents & Babies program. Wendy, a mother of four herself, has been with Lighthouse for a number of years now acting as a role model and pillar of support for many of our young mums. By modelling a loving environment, Wendy helps the girls learn how to raise their baby- with love and nurture- so that both mum and bub continue to thrive and grow, ultimately reaching their potential. We’re so lucky to have incredible people in the world like Wendy join our cause- helping to change young lives and future generations to come every single day.
Mikaela has been a carer at Lighthouse for a number of years now, primarily working in our homes supporting young mothers and their babies- reffered to internally as our 'mums 'n' bubs homes'. We caught up with Mikaela to find out more about what it's like to work at Lighthouse and what are the most rewarding aspects of her role.
Q: How did you come to be working as a carer with Lighthouse?
“I came to Lighthouse initially to work as a receptionist. At the time, I wasn’t particularly committed to the idea of working with anyone long-term, but then I fell totally in love with the space and the people and the way everyone works here. I eventually applied for the role of respite carer and started doing that as well as the receptionist job, and then dropped reception so I could become a full-time carer. Lighthouse has been revelatory for me. It’s totally unique. For the first time in my life, it feels like all the things that I believed in my gut have been given a name and a practice. This is an organisation devoted to teaching human connection and demonstrating how consistent love and care are so important for healing people.”
Q: What is it like working for Lighthouse?
“I feel incredibly well supported. A lot of organisations just talk about how they support their employees, but Lighthouse actually does it really well. They understand that, as carers, we can’t give to the kids in the way that we need to if we’re not in a good space ourselves. So we have access to constant clinical, peer and moral support.”
Q: What are the most rewarding aspects of your job?
“When one of the kids starts to open up and chat with us for the first time; or when a young person smiles at you, when they would have found that too scary to do before; or when someone voluntarily clears away their plate after dinner without you having to ask them to do it for the 77th time. Those subtle gestures are when you know they’re finally starting to accept this place as their home and respect you as part of that. Suddenly these positive little things start to happen and they build up. That’s when someone’s ready to begin the healing process. I get so much from this work; it’s not just a selfless act – there is so much love and joy from coming to work every day. It’s totally humbling and inspiring and I’m so lucky to do what I do.”
"I feel incredibly well supported. A lot of organisations just talk about hwo they support their employees but Lighthouse actualy does it really well."
We chatted more to Carlos, who is one of our Primary Carers in a Lighthouse home about his challenges and triumphs of working as a Carer.
"When one of the kids starts to open up and chat with me for the first time; or when you find something that conencts you, allowing the young people to share their triumphs and dreams. It can be really simple things like having breakfast together, or playing the guitar or going to the skate park."
"The hardest thing is how personal it feels living with traumatised kids. It's not just a job; it's a really connected experience. We're not scared of connection and attachment at Lighthouse - that's our driving force. In a lot of organisations you're not allowed to hug kids, and yet this is so vital for helping them to learn to trust and re-connect with other human beings in safe and appropriate ways."