Maria: Continuing to inspire
It’s been four years Gerard and I were part of a carecareers campaign. Every now and then someone comes up to me and says they recognise me from somewhere – the commercial! It’s even happened when I’ve been holidaying aboard a cruise ship. One of the best things about being in the commercial was inspiring others to consider a career in the care sector. Plus, of course it was wonderful to see Gerard shine and be recognised for the brilliant and talented person he is.
I worked with Gerard for 18 months prior to the commercial. My most memorable moments with him, besides doing the ad, was seeing him win an award at Tropfest, when he got his first job, and then his second at the Riverside Theatre. Gerard is such a character and definitely one in a million. I can’t imagine life without Gerard, which is excellent, as we’re still working on a number of projects together.
One of the things we’ve been working on is the Pathways to Leadership program. Together we have become facilitators of the program which means we get to host training groups and sessions on person-centred-practice (PCP), especially in preparation for the NDIS. We’ve been to loads of talks and conferences, presenting to different organisations, social workers, disability sector staff and families to discuss the importance of PCP. I think one of the reasons we work so well together is that we both simply want to get the message out there that we’re all people – no matter what differences we have – and by working together we truly demonstrate that.
For the last year I’ve also been teaching at Bankstown Tafe. I teach Certificate 111 in Disability Studies, Home and Community Care, and Aged Care. It all actually started because of Gerard. He and I used to be guest speakers for the courses and one of the teachers asked me if I’d like to try teaching. I jumped at the chance and have loved it ever since.
My favourite thing about teaching is inspiring the students and showing them that they have the potential to help someone else. I get to see their confidence grow throughout the course. One of the things I focus on while teaching is using positive language, both about the students, the people they will be caring for, the industry and life itself. I also make sure I include guest speakers in my teaching program as I know it excites my students when they meet real people from the sector. And guess who one of my guest speakers is? That’s right, it’s Gerard!
I’m not exactly sure what the future holds for me. I know that there will always be a need to help make a difference to the lives of others, whether through teaching, working with or supporting people. I am positive that I will continue to help others in whatever way I can, and in turn, hopefully the people that I help will be able to help someone else too.
Find out more about Maria & Gerad’s story on carecareers.