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DEAR TEACHERS Chloe Hayden tells teachers that when it comes to students on the spectrum, different is not less.


Abdul Al-Kassab fled the horrors of war-torn Syria, he reveals the hope Australia has given to his family.


Lamb & Rosemary Pie, Chocolate Melting Moments and could you carve a pumpkin blind? Adrian can!


Welcome to REALISE


CEO’s Message


Mission, Vision and Values


BRETT DENHAM: THE POWER OF LEARNING Reading a story in the newspaper might not seem like an important achievement for most 23-yearolds, but for Brett Denham, it represents years of dedication.


Sex, Respect & Disability

14 DEAR TEACHERS I’m nineteen years old now, and I’ve finished doing sixteen years at school. And I’m not going to lie, it was hard; it was harder than anybody imagined.


Cover photography by Phil Nitchie, Nitch Photography



ABDUL’S STORY Syrian refugee Abdul Al-Kassab

From the National reveals the horrors in his past and Disability Insurance Agency his hopes for the future.


RICKY & JAMES: UNDERSTANDING DISABILITY When Ricky Sharda was asked to consider employing someone with a disability, he was hesitant at first.


Tara’s Dream House 2





IRENE SAZDOV: MY JOB, MY COMMUNITY No problem is too big for Irene, no issue too difficult to address, because every day that she’s working she’s also representing her community.



The impact of the global ageing workforce


There’s no place like home

36 A VOICE FOR GRETA For former paramedic, Campbell Trewin, ensuring both of his daughters have every opportunity in life is his most important job.





5 minutes with the Seasons Catering chef


Recipe: Lamb & Rosemary Pie


Recipe: Chocolate Melting Moments



CAROLINE MATHIESON Sitting down with Caroline Mathieson, we hear about her schooling, sporting achievements, overseas travel and life in a new home.


REALISE is published by Karingal St Laurence ISSN 2208-195X (Online) ISSN 2208-1941 (Print) Phone 1300 558 368 Email: Or visit Karingal St Laurence Limited ABN 74 614 366 031 ACN 614 366 031

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WELCOME REALISE magazine is a new Karingal St Laurence publication which celebrates people and shares their unique stories. We are one of Australia’s leading community services organisations, and our focus will always be on the people at the heart of our organisation – our participants and their families. REALISE recognises individuals who have worked to realise their full potential, to realise their dreams and in reading the stories in the pages that follow, we hope you start to realise the depth of our community. We meet a teenager who was overlooked by teachers because they didn’t understand her disability, a young man whose life has been shaped by a lifethreatening seizure he experienced as a baby, a family who escaped war-torn Syria in search of a better life and a father who is striving to give his daughter the independence she desires through supported accommodation. It has been fascinating delving into the amazing lives of the people featured in this first edition, and we thank them for sharing their very personal stories. These people embody Karingal St Laurence’s values: they are courageous, welcoming and respectful, and they exemplify excellence and integrity in their everyday lives. We have also provided NDIS and disability sector updates. People living extraordinary lives surround us on a day-to-day basis. We are so proud to bring some of their stories to you, and we encourage you to get in touch if you know of a great story that should be told.


A message from our CEO Karingal St Laurence has recently launched our new Vision, Mission, and Values, which you can read about on the following page. Throughout the process of bringing this document together I’ve been reflecting on what it means to be part of this organisation. I started as CEO of Karingal St Laurence two years ago, and in that time I have learned so much. I wasn’t from the disability sector, I’d never worked at a not-for-profit, and I’ve been constantly learning over my time here. I’ve had a few ‘light-bulb’ moments in those two years, where the importance of our work has become really clear, and I’d like to share one of those moments with you. I was volunteering last year at our Summer Workplace Big Day Out, which was held at a leisure park just south of Geelong. The day brings together the local business community and people with a disability to take part in a range of fun activities. We were broken up into teams, and, at one point, my team was walking to a pond where we were going to jump into some boats and have a paddle around. I was walking beside a young lady named Cassie (pictured above), and suddenly I realised I was on my own and I looked behind and thought to myself, ‘What’s happened?’ When I turned around Cassie was standing there looking at me, just holding her hand out, and I realised all she wanted was a bit of support. She was feeling a little bit apprehensive, and while I


wasn’t immediately sure what to do, it was clear that she just needed a helping hand. In that moment it dawned on me that this is what it’s all about – this was about being inclusive, about helping Cassie to realise her full potential, and making sure no one was left behind. I walked back and took her hand, and we jumped in that boat together. Cassie ended up doing a great job, and it’s moments like that where our values become more than just words, they become real. As we move forward, it’s easy to get swept up in the fact that we’re getting bigger, we’re expanding, and we talk about how we’re in every state now except the Northern Territory and Tasmania. But we’re not just embarking on growth for growth’s sake. What I’ve said consistently is that at the core of what we do is supporting clients just like Cassie - whether that’s in disability, disadvantage, employment or aged care. We want to support people to transform their lives, and this organisation and the people within it do a fantastic job for the people we support. Whilst we do a lot of work to focus on our clients and their families, we want to be clear about how much we appreciate the support of the wider community. We really value the support from our external stakeholders and partners, they are an integral part of the future success of what we’re trying to achieve. Mike McKinstry Karingal St Laurence CEO


To build inclusive communities Mission

To create and deliver innovative services and supports that empower people to reach their full potential

Values Welcoming

You’re part of our family


We will treat you the way we would want to be treated


We bravely drive innovation and advocacy to assist you to live the life you choose


We are proud in our pursuit of the highest quality, reflecting our commitment to delivering the best


Earning your trust by always adhering to our values


Reading a story in the newspaper might not seem like an important achievement for most 23-yearolds, but for Freshwater Creek’s Brett Denham, understanding words and sentences on a page represents years of dedication. Brett’s mother Michele is often stopping her work at the family’s Jubilee Stud, located 25 minutes south of Geelong, as he runs in to tell her a horse from a local trainer has got a race, or the latest news about his beloved Geelong Cats. “Today he opened the paper, he read out the headline and I said, ‘Well done Brett, that’s really great reading’,” Michele said of Brett’s progress. “So, he has to have learned those words, it’s amazing that he’s come along so well. “The numeracy is a big struggle but the positive thing is that Brett can now read some sentences by himself – sometimes he’ll get the meaning wrong but most of the time he can piece it together and get a story based on the amount of words he knows.”

Brett had a life-threatening seizure as a 16-monthold, which left him with an acquired brain injury. More seizures followed in the years to come and Brett’s life was punctuated with regular trips to hospital, behavioural problems, and constant challenges for Michele and her husband Les. Brett attended a local special development school, but Michele was left disappointed with his level of learning and searched for further education opportunities, including a Language, Literacy and Numeracy course at Geelong disability organisation St Laurence. “I was a little bit disappointed with the level he came out with when he finished school and I thought he needed to be doing something to fill his day, and the numeracy and literacy course at St Laurence has been perfect,” Michele said. “It’s a structured learning environment, but they also go and do things that are motivating to help students learn. He had done a couple of other courses, but some of it is quite complex and those courses have people with really different levels of ability,” she said.


“With St Laurence it’s very flexible, they engage the pupils and it’s topical to the students’ interests. It’s definitely boosted his self-esteem and it’s

“But when the alarm goes off at 4am he’s in there. Brett actually strapped a horse that was paying 100:1 and won at Flemington – that was an absolutely brilliant day.”

thanks to his own application as well.”

HELPING WITH HORSES Improved reading skills are not the only aspect of Brett’s life that has come on in leaps and bounds over the past couple of years. Growing up on a horse stud has given him an ongoing connection to horses. Local trainers, including Gnarwarre’s Alan Hunter and Mount Moriac’s Nick Roe, have enlisted Brett’s help with strapping their horses, and he has travelled to racecourses across Victoria, including the prestigious Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. Michele said helping the trainers had become an important part of Brett’s life. “Sometimes we’re in at the track at 4.30am, and he’s happy to do it, whereas I have to say, ‘C’mon


time to go,’ when I’m getting him up for his day programs, which start at 7.30 or 8am,” she said.

On a race day, Brett’s duties include keeping the horse in good order, brushing it down and painting its hooves, as well as leading it around the mounting yard. Michele said Brett had even completed more complex tasks like returning jockeys’ silks during a race meeting at Flemington. “I stayed with the horse and Brett went with the trainer, you have to show your pass to get through those private areas like the Mounting Yard and the Steward’s Room, so he went with the trainer and came back,” she said. “When that horse had raced, the trainer said Brett could take me to return the silks, so Brett has just gone and taken me and got through all the official places and followed the right protocols. He went

For more information about MyPath Plus courses, contact 1800 234 455

in and asked for the silks, then I said I was going

“We had the party at the Captain’s Room at the

to get a coffee, but he wanted to go straight back

club and I made a banner, which had a caricature

to the stables, and he made his way back to the

of Brett and I wrote ‘21 Games’ then crossed that

stables by himself as well.

out and put ‘21 Games Years’,” she said.

“Things like that just shows how much his self-

“The words were all over the big glass doors and

confidence has improved.”

there were streamers down where you could walk


through. It was a lot of fun.”

Brett is also an integral part of the Geelong Football Club cheer squad, which he’s been a part


of since 2007. Former Cat, Josh Hunt, visited

Michele and Les’ older son, Josh, lives and works

Brett’s school for a clinic, and Brett had a photo taken that was featured in the local newspaper. From there, his love of the Cats has grown and a weekend for the Denhams often includes attending

in New South Wales as a university lecturer in Clinical Exercise Physiology. Josh has completed multiple university degrees and holds a Ph.D. in

Cats’ games at AFL, VFL and women’s VFL

Molecular Exercise Physiology.


Michele said her sons’ life experiences had given

Brett even celebrated his 21st birthday at the home

her family a unique outlook.

of the Cats, Simonds Stadium, and current players including Tom Lonergan and Daniel Menzel came along to the party. “Brett did a whole heap of invitations and not

“Having two sons with different abilities, I think that my life is totally balanced,” she said. “I’ve got the highest of high achievers, and, of

all of them came, but there were a lot that turned

course, Brett does the best that he possibly can –

up – there were 10 from the club, which is huge,”

he does really well. I think it puts everything in

Michele said.


Photography by Phil Nitchie, Nitch Photography



Sex, Respect & Disability

Sexuality and relationship rights are at the centre of Safer Lives and Respectful Relationships (SL&RR), a peer-led sexuality program for people with an intellectual disability. Run by a team of peer educators, program partners and researchers employed by Deakin University, the program forms part of the research work undertaken by Dr Patsie Frawley, Senior Lecturer in Disability and Inclusion at Deakin University. Dr Frawley said the rights-based framework was developed to bring people with an intellectual disability and mainstream organisations together. This creates opportunities for people to talk about sexuality, respectful relationships and sexual health with their peers, in a program led by peers and to find out information about local supports and services. “Just like everyone else, people with an intellectual disability need to talk over their sexuality and relationship experiences and questions in a safe and supportive environment using resources they can access and relate to,” she said.


SL&RR uses real life stories, gathered in research since 2001, about people with an intellectual disability discussing and reflecting on their sexuality and relationship experiences within the broader context of their lives. “When people with an intellectual disability listen to, watch and talk about the stories while doing the SL&RR program, they say ‘That’s just like me.’ They relate to the stories and to the common experiences they share with the people in the stories, who talk about things like not being respected as an adult, others not thinking they are sexual, not having privacy, and not having control in their intimate family and carer relationships.” Local networks are developed by interested organisations partnering with people with an intellectual disability to complete a four-day train the trainer program. Following this, the networks meet to plan how to promote and run the program locally, supported by Deakin University’s SL&RR team. “Peer education is at the heart of this program. People with an intellectual disability who are

trained as peer educators say being an educator has opened up a whole new experience. They feel more confident, more listened to in their own lives, and have learned more themselves about sexual health and respectful relationships. They talk about one of the reasons for the program’s success being that they are ‘in the same shoes’ as the people who do the program, and the people whose stories are used in the program.”

* Geelong has not had an active local network since around 2012, however a group is now meeting to get the program running again locally. This is being coordinated by organisations including Karingal St Laurence. For more information, contact Sharon Meek at Karingal St Laurence (

SL&RR was co-developed by people with an intellectual disability in partnership with researchers and project workers at universities. This partnership carries on throughout the whole program and the model, where local sexual health, women’s health, disability and sexual assault services join up as program partners. The program has grown steadily since its inception and is now delivered by five local networks in Victoria and two more in New South Wales. There are also two international versions of the program, one in Sweden and one being developed in New Zealand, both using stories told by people with intellectual disabilities from these countries.

To find out more about SL&RR, visit programs/SLRR or contact Dr Patsie Frawley at Deakin University (



I’m nineteen years old now, and I’ve finished doing sixteen years at school. And I’m not going to lie, it was hard; it was harder than anybody imagined. You have so many students to look out for, to teach, to encourage… but one of those students was never me. I was overlooked, and I don’t really know why. Perhaps it was because I’m different. Maybe it just wasn’t convenient to you to be able to take that extra few minutes to make sure that I was okay, that I understood what you were saying. After sixteen years of schooling, I’ve come out the other side. And yeah, I’m alright now. But I still can’t go anywhere near a school without my heart rate going up, without my palms getting sweaty, without the sound of ringing in my ears and teachers whispering to each other in the hallway about me.


“What on earth is wrong with that child?” The past is in the past now [a Frozen quote, for those who like a reference], but it doesn’t make the memories any easier. It doesn’t make my childhood difficulties any less valid. And yeah, perhaps I am nineteen years old now and perhaps the struggles I suffered through in school are meaningless now. But, really? They’re not. Because, in your classroom, that’s full of so many neurotypical children that all look the same, and sound the same, and dress the same, there’s a high chance that there’s a child there who is not the same. And this child probably spends their lunch times crying in the bathroom, because they so, so desperately want to make friends, but they don’t know how. And this child probably tries so hard to keep their desk tidy and their books in order and their hand writing neat, but they don’t know how. And this child, who is just as important, and wonderful, and special and smart as any other child in that classroom, might just need a little bit of extra help from you. Might need your encouragement, a gentle hand to point them in the right direction. I know this, because I was that child, I am that child, and this is what we want to tell you:



Autism is like a big, beautiful oak tree. There’s the base of it, and then there’s loads of branches that come out from everywhere. We share the same trunk, but there are so many branches, and sticks, and even tiny little twigs that make us unique and individual. If you don’t know how to cope with me, if you have a question about me, just ask me - or my parents.

Don’t assume that you understand something because you’ve read it in a big, fancy text book. Because I’m sure those textbooks are very lovely and make you feel very smart. But I can’t be confined into the words of a book.


I don’t understand and learn the same way you and the other kids do, and if I try and learn in that way, I won’t learn. Sometimes, when you use long sentences and big words with no pictures, I can get confused quite easily, even if it doesn’t look like it. I don’t like telling people that I don’t understand questions, because that makes me feel even more of an outcast than I already feel. So, I’ve taught myself how to memorise facts, and paragraphs, and stories. And I can nod along and pretend I understand, that it all makes sense, but I don’t really know what it all means sometimes. Sometimes language is hard for me, and hearing lots of talking ends up forming into a big mess inside of my head, so it’s a lot easier for me to learn in pictures, and slow words, and drawings on the board, and pieces of paper. Please be patient with me, and show me the questions rather than just telling me. Ask me if I need help, and come and sit with me to ensure that I understand. I’ll blow you away with how smart I am. You just need to find what key fits the lock to unleash the greatness.


I know that you’ve got a lot of children to look after. I know that it’s hard for you to help


individual children. But that extra minute it will take to ensure that I’m okay will change everything.

and awkward, and I feel like I’m intruding if I

I find it so, so hard to make friends. I just never know what to say. Their language is strange to me; their ways of communicating are different than my own.

Maybe you could go up to a nice little boy or girl

And sometimes, kids can be mean. Really mean.

if I say, “No.”

I think other kids are scared of people being different to them, and I don’t really know why, because my mum always tells me that different is a beautiful thing. But that extra little time you can take out to ensure that I’m safe, that I’m okay, that no one’s hurting me, that I’m not locked in a bathroom crying for hours by myself…

try and go up and play with someone of my own accord. in my class and encourage them to invite me to join them at kickball or skipping or tag? Sometimes, I don’t want to play. And that’s okay But, other times, all I want in the world is a friend to be with.

5. SOMETIMES, I JUST NEED PEACE AND QUIET So much happens in a classroom, and sometimes

… could change everything.

it can get too much and I feel like my head will


I need a quiet spot so I can sit down and relax

HELP TO MAKE FRIENDS It may look like I don’t want to play with the other kids on the playground, but sometimes it’s just that I simply do not know how to start a conversation or enter a play situation. I feel silly,


explode into bits and pieces. and recover. It doesn’t have to be an entire area; I don’t even have to leave the classroom, if that’s not something that’s accessible. Allowing me to listen to music in my headphones and close my eyes, or read an easy book, or colour in my favourite Disney drawing is enough. Find out more about Princess Aspien at

Photography by Phil Nitchie, Nitch Photography

6. I’M NOT NAUGHTY (…USUALLY) I don’t mean to be disruptive, but it’s so hard to sit still in uncomfortable chairs with lots of things happening for long periods of time. I’m learning a lot, and that hurts my head. And when my head hurts, I need to move, and get energy out of my body. Moving helps me to stay calm, and focussed, and it will help me learn and be a better student. I can still listen to you even if my hands are moving, or if I’m rocking, or if I’m tapping my feet. I promise.

7. FOCUS ON MY STRENGTHS. NOT ON MY WEAKNESSES Like any other human, I cannot learn in an environment where I’m constantly made to feel that I’m not good enough, that I’m not worthy, that I’m worse than everyone else… and that I need ‘fixing’. Love me, and encourage me, and teach me with what I have, not by what I’m not.

Look past the things I cannot do. Look for my strengths and I promise you that will find them. There is more than one ‘right’ way to do most things. And, most of all… Please… please…. be patient with me. I am a child. And I learn in the same way that all children learn. With love, and patience, and kindness. Nurture me, and look for my strengths. Help me to grow and try to understand my crazy, beautiful, unique, wonderful mind.

Chloe Hayden is also known as Princess Aspien (if you didn’t already guess, Chloe has Asperger’s syndrome). She is a writer, video blogger, actor, and a seriously passionate advocate for kids with autism, Aspergers Syndrome, anxiety, or who just don’t fit the mould of what might be thought of as normal … whatever normal is.


Ben & Co Toowoomba National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participant, Ben Hunter, beams as he bakes and sells an impressive range of muffins, biscuits and slices at local markets. The 20-year-old, who is non-verbal and has Down syndrome, develops his produce in his own commercial kitchen with his NDIS support workers, Sarah and Nandi, and his mum, Carolyn. Offering wholesome, café style goods with a healthy twist, Carolyn said everything has been so popular it often sells out. And Carolyn and dad, Ian, couldn’t be happier seeing their son participating socially and economically in the community, just like everyone else, in a career he’s quite talented at. “Ben’s NDIS funds opened an alternative door of opportunity for us,” the couple said. “We enrolled him in cooking classes and he just loved it. His teachers would always say how great his skills were and he would always help them out, but it got me thinking, ‘How are you going to further his skills?’ That’s when I started investigating.” Wishing to extend Ben’s skills and to secure his financial future, the couple took a leap of faith and thought outside the box. Fully equipped with


Ben’s NDIS funding, and with his career front of mind, Carolyn left her job as a primary school teacher, employed support workers and started Ben & Co, Bakers with Purpose. Selling produce at regular market stalls, the couple’s focus is to now provide opportunities for young people with intellectual disability – to fill the gap they identified with Ben. “Often when young people with intellectual disability leave high school they fall through the cracks. Many struggle to find purpose and direction in their lives. Most are relegated to noncustomer-service type work where they don’t get as many opportunities to regularly interact with the general public. We want to help change this.” Carolyn said. “Our aim is to provide employment and mentoring experiences through Ben & Co to help support young people with intellectual disability to acquire and further develop their social skills, alongside their hospitality and retail skills.” Carolyn says her goal is to start small at local markets, then, one day, move to a permanent shop where they can sell wholesale produce to local cafes and restaurants.

DEVELOPING YOUR FIRST PLAN For future National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, your first plan is the start of a lifelong relationship with the NDIS. We understand that every person living with a disability has different needs, and we’re here to help you develop a plan that you have choice and control over. Your plan will be unique to you and your exact needs, whatever they may be. The NDIS is here for you and your life goals, which means your plan will look different to other people you know. - To get your first plan, a representative of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will call you or your nominee to have a planning conversation. If you’re unable to complete your planning conversation over the phone, that’s okay, we will make alternative planning arrangements. - If you already receive support from a government disability program, you might qualify to directly enter the scheme. In this event you’ll be contacted by an NDIA representative when it is time to transition. Rest assured that until you have an NDIS plan your existing supports and services will continue. - In your first planning conversation, you may be asked about: • Your personal details • Your community and mainstream supports • How you manage everyday activities • Your safety • Setting your goals • Starting your plan

- If you’re wondering what type of supports you can receive, the NDIS funds reasonable and necessary supports that must either: • Be associated with day-to-day living • Be a resource to help you live an ordinary life • Help you build the skills you need to live the life you want

- We’ll also talk about how you want to manage your plan. This could be: • You or your nominee • A registered plan management provider • The NDIA

And that’s it. Once your plan is finalised you will be contacted by an NDIA representative to discuss how to put your plan into action. Remember, you will have ongoing opportunities to review and revise your plan over time, and you have control over the supports and services you receive.

For more information visit or call us on 1800 800 110



When Ricky Sharda was asked to consider employing someone with a disability, he was hesitant at first. James Broadstock has Asperger’s syndrome and was put forward by MatchWorks consultant Ted Ditching to work at Ricky’s business Café Felice, located in Adelaide’s south. Ricky was keen to employ James, but was unsure of how much support he needed in the workplace. With Ted’s guidance, Ricky created a ‘coffee runner’ role for James, which involved taking orders and delivering coffees to nearby office towers. “James has had challenges in the workplace with socialising with other staff and demonstrating politeness, but this is part of his barriers,” Ricky said. “I have been encouraging him just like I would any other staff member to make an effort to say hello and goodbye two customers when arriving and leaving. Overall, James has done very well when interacting with office workers in the towers and has carried out this newly created role above my expectations.”


With ongoing support from MatchWorks, including a government-funded wage subsidy, James has continued to develop in his new role, and Ricky has learned more about the benefits of disability employment. “Compared to when I first met James, I feel he is a lot more social and comfortable with facing new situations and challenges,” Ricky said. “I believe this job gives James something to look forward to each day, even though it’s only a couple of hours a day. My hope is that eventually we can train him up in other areas of the café.” Understanding the requirements of recruiting a person with a disability can be difficult for employers. However, a new employer engagement strategy is being piloted in Geelong, and focuses on building the confidence of smalland medium-sized businesses to become more welcoming, confident and accessible for people with a disability. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) is working in collaboration with Deakin University to deliver the initiative, titled the Diversity Field Officer Service.

For more information about disability employment visit


Jessica Zammit, Project Manager of the Diversity Field Officer Service, said there were many myths surrounding disability employment that affected business thinking.

Removing preconceived ideas about people with a disability has been a major part of the Diversity Field Officer Service.

“People often think that hiring people with disability is more costly, harder to do or not a sound business decision. People are worried about saying or doing the wrong thing, and so can often fall into the trap of not doing anything at all,” Jessica said.

“People with disability are often written off and not given an opportunity as employers cannot imagine how the job will be done. We ask businesses to open their mind to the potential and the skills people with disability bring, rather than focus on a disability label or preconception,” Jessica said.

“The truth is that disability is more prevalent than people think. When we speak with small and medium sized businesses, business owners and managers often have this light bulb moment – that their brother, child, co-worker, a close friend has a disability and these are people that they value. It’s people they already know,” she said.

“Everyone is different and we all have different strengths. We ask businesses not to presume what a person can do – it has been a pretty powerful message for businesses involved. We are keen to continue to build that capacity in Geelong and other regions to grow the confidence of businesses.”



Dream House

Tara McGowan was in her third year of training to become a special needs teacher when she tragically passed away from an asthma attack at just 23 years of age. Working as a carer on weekends during her study, Tara had a desire to enhance the lives of people with a disability. “Tara was always very passionate about working towards moving young people out of nursing homes and into residential facilities within the community,” said Stephen McGowan, Tara’s father. Now, two years on from her passing, Tara’s vision of a staffed residential house for people with a disability is being realised. Through the combined efforts of Karingal St Laurence and the Tara’s Dream Foundation, a nine-bedroom home to be known as ‘Tara’s Dream House’ will be built in Ocean Grove this year, offering both 24-hour care and individual living. Karingal St Laurence has committed funds to build the house, with further fundraising efforts being led by the McGowan family. Stephen described Karingal St Laurence and Tara’s Dream as ‘a perfect match’.


“The special people we have met through Karingal St Laurence have amazed me with their genuine concern for everyone, and everyone is on the same page of equality for all,” Stephen said. “She would be so happy to see her dream becoming a reality.” In February this year, 700 guests attended a Tara’s Dream gala dinner in Melbourne that raised $227,000 towards the project. The Rotary Club of Geelong also threw their support behind the project in May at their annual Golf Day. And Karingal St Laurence Gourmet Food Trail long lunch is being held on the Bellarine Peninsula in August in a bid to raise more funds. The McGowan family continue to fundraise and have now gathered more than $270,000 for the cause. To donate to the Tara’s Dream Foundation, visit

t Karingal Training is a not-for-profi registered training organisation delivering prac tical, job relevant training to students from all backgrounds. Our expert team is focused on giv ing you the sk ills and knowledge needed to start your new career.

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For more information or to enrol call our office today

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“Every night I have a dream, a nightmare. When I sleep I still see my friends, sometimes I see myself trapped in a dangerous area. Sometimes I see my friends and I don’t know where they are now, so I am sad for them.” Those are the words of Syrian refugee Abdul Al-Kassab who experienced a lifetime of horrors before moving his wife and their four children to Australia. Abdul, 53, lives in the Victorian suburb of Mill Park with his wife, Amal, and four children Omar, Saad, Yuser and Alma. The family managed a terrifying and dangerous escape from war-torn Syria to Egypt, and eventually to Australia, where he now works as a storekeeper and education support specialist at Sydenham Catholic Regional College, 25 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. The life Abdul and his family live now is a far cry from what they experienced in their home city of Homs in western Syria after civil war broke out six years ago.

The ongoing conflict has cost them everything. Family and friends have been murdered, their house has been destroyed, and there is nothing left for them in the place they called home. But Abdul and his family are forever grateful to Australia and the Australian people for the opportunity to restart their lives.

LIFE IN SYRIA Abdul was born in 1964, one of 11 children who all shared a passion for education and learning. Conflict in Syria had always been a part of Abdul’s life, and when he was 16, he was arrested and spent the next 11 years in prison. “In the 1980s, we had a similar uprising to what’s happening now, but it was smaller, they crushed one city at that time and the other cities became silent,” Abdul said. “They arrested people indiscriminately to frighten others. They killed most of them and released the others to warn people of what would happen to


Omar was arrested with three of his student friends, one of them died in front of him by torture and one was released after 12 days. . .

them. So I was a political prisoner, I was arrested when I was 16 years old for nothing,” he said. “I was put in prison for 11 years, under a severe program of torture. Every day I faced starvation, sickness, congestion. I couldn’t proceed with my education but I studied English while I was in there, through prescriptions on medicine boxes, from any paper I could get. “Later on I had a radio, I could hear BBC and Voice of America and then I’d search for the words to find out what they mean.” In 1990, Abdul was released from prison and committed himself to furthering his education. At 28, he passed his Year 12 equivalency studying from home, and he chose to complete a degree in English Literature. Abdul married and started his family, working as a pharmacy assistant while his wife worked as a chemical engineer. But their relatively peaceful life was interrupted again in 2011, when protests against the authoritarian government led to all-out fighting and civil war.


LEAVING SYRIA Abdul and his family stayed in Homs for twoand-a-half years despite daily bombings, kidnaps, arrests and murders. He witnessed up to ten funerals a day and had no idea if his children would return as he bid them farewell each day. “For two years I would wake up every day, and before they went to school or went somewhere I would say goodbye to everybody and I was wondering who would come back,” he said. “People would walk and get sniped. You don’t know where the bullet was coming from – it was a very dangerous time, it was not secure at all.” A turning point came when Abdul’s oldest son Omar was arrested in the same way he was in the 1980s. “Omar was arrested with three of his student friends, one of them died in front of him by torture and one was released after 12 days – Omar was also released. The other he doesn’t know anything about – it’s sad, we don’t know,” Abdul said.

For more information about Employment Services Group, visit


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“This was the circumstances, so my wife and I decided to leave everything there.” In 2013, Abdul’s name was removed from a list of people banned from leaving Syria and he gained a passport. The family planned its escape and took a harrowing journey through 40 checkpoints, each with its own unique dangers, before eventually settling in Egypt.

COMING TO AUSTRALIA After four months in Egypt, Abdul applied for Australian refugee visas and was surprised how quickly his family was accepted. “I was very happy, it was a chance to restart our lives again,” Abdul said. “I didn’t imagine it would be so easy for me to come, so I didn’t have big hopes of coming here. Lots of people apply from all over the world and I was just one of them. “I took the form from the internet, I filled it out by hand, I didn’t pay more than the copying of the

papers. I didn’t pay any money which tells you how honest the process is.” The family arrived in Australia in mid-2014, and moved in with Abdul’s brother who had been living in Australia for 30 years after escaping Syria. Abdul set about getting his children into school and looking for work, which led him to Employment Services Group’s (ESG) Epping office where he diligently completed employment training. His daughter Alma was immediately accepted into school, Yuser was accepted shortly after, but Abdul’s two oldest sons were told they had to improve their English. All four children had been passionate Scouts in Syria and joined the local Greensborough Scout Group which led to an introduction to Scout leader and Sydenham Catholic Regional College principal, Brendan Watson. Brendan offered Saad and Omar work at the school during the summer break, and, with more hard work and persistence Saad was also accepted as a student.


Syrian school children at a camp for internally displaced Syrians in Atmeh, Syria. iStock / Getty Images

This connection led to an employment opportunity for Abdul. “During that year Omar was busy working at Big W in a casual job, and he said he can’t go and work at the school. So I put myself forward and told him to tell the lady that was calling that I could work instead of Omar and she agreed,” Abdul said. “So I went there and I worked hard – this is my

“You know, when you leave your country, you feel happy because you are free, but also you are feeling alone – no friends, no family, nothing. You start to feel depressed, but the moment Saad got the dux I jumped a very high jump into happiness, me and my wife. “Now we feel that we really belong, really to this country so we are very happy now.”

way, and now I have a permanent job.”



Abdul is quick to smile, speaks softly and is

One of the proudest moments for the Al-Kassab family was when Saad (pictured with Abdul, above) became dux of Sydenham Catholic Regional College last year. He achieved an ATAR score of 96.65 and became a shining light for the Syrian refugee community as his story attracted national media attention. “I felt proud, I felt happy for him,” Abdul said of Saad’s achievement.


grateful for the opportunities Australia has given him. He admits he can’t escape his past, and is haunted by his dreams but he feels confident about what the future holds for his family. “Australia is very generous, when you arrive as a refugee, you feel you belong to this land,” he said. “I must say thank you to the Australian people and to everybody who has helped me and my family. We are so happy now.”



Open the door to diversity in your workplace MatchWorks works with employers of all sizes to match them with job ready staff from all cultural backgrounds, genders, ages and abilities. We understand that everyone is different and we support job seekers to help them achieve their very best for your business.

For more information call

Our experienced consultants will train and screen job seekers, provide a selection of the most suitably skilled people for your team and deliver ongoing support to your business. See the ability with MatchWorks today.

1300 132 363

or visit

Karingal Inc. (Vic) Limited Liability Reg. Assoc. A0038261E ARBN 158 375 903 | ABN 97 468 305 401


Lighting up the night sky Over eight weeks of art classes, armed with acrylic paint, glitter and a range of other mediums, Callum Sampson turned a blank canvas into his glistening masterpiece ‘Melbourne Star at midnight on New Year’s Eve’. Callum created his interpretation of the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel after seeing the iconic landmark. He has plans to soon visit the wheel and take a ride.


Callum attends the Karingal St Laurence art program in Wyndham twice a week, along with 20 other participants. His piece, along with others from across the Wyndham region, will be showcased at the Karingal St Laurence KarnivART ’17 Wyndham art exhibition.

Each year, high quality artworks created by artists with a disability who live in Victoria are exhibited at three KarnivART exhibitions across the state: on the Mornington Peninsula, in Geelong and in Wyndham, as well as at one Arts Unlimited exhibition in Geelong. For more information about Karingal St Laurence art classes, email, or call 1300 558 368. To find out more about Karingal St Laurence KarnivART exhibitions, contact Farryn Soldani on or Elida Luciarte Ruiz on elida.ruiz@stlaurence. for Arts Unlimited.



Photography by Phil Nitchie, Nitch Photography

A smile and a conversation is how it starts for Indigenous job seekers who meet Irene Sazdov. Pretty soon, she not only has their life story, she’s contacting family members to build support networks and getting in touch with potential employers to secure job interviews. No problem is too big for Irene, no issue too difficult to address, because every day that she’s working she’s also representing her community. Irene grew up in South Australia, the daughter of an Aboriginal mother and European father. She lived and studied in Adelaide, while also spending time in the small mining towns of Coober Pedy and Andamooka before the opportunity to start a family drew her to Melbourne. Irene married and had three sons, while enjoying an extensive career with organisations including the Transport Accident Commission, Totaliser Agency Board (TAB), various oil refining companies, and Qantas airlines.


She took up an opportunity to work at MatchWorks in Werribee as a specialist Indigenous Employment Consultant, but tragedy struck as one of her sons died and she spent six months away from work. “When I came back, I said that this isn’t going to work if I’m sitting behind the desk, I need to go out into the community and be out there. I wanted to tap into the community and the networks I’d made to make people aware of what I was doing,” Irene said. “The thing is, I work for my community, I have a responsibility to my community, because work I can leave tomorrow and they might remember me as a name, whereas I’m always going to be a part of my community. “If I’m just doing the ticks and flicks, and just getting people jobs just because we have to, but not keeping the retention there – that’s going to reflect on me as a person.”

For more information about MatchWorks, visit

The thing is, I work for my community, I have a responsibility to my community, because work I can leave tomorrow and they might remember me as a name, whereas I’m always going to be a part of my community.

Over the past six years Irene has worked tirelessly to support Indigenous job seekers looking for work. Her clients have faced barriers including mental health issues, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and legal problems. Irene has been an integral part of Indigenous employment initiatives, including the Deadly Yakka program, which has been rolled out across Australia with great success.

Irene spent considerable time with Matthew, helping him connect with legal and housing services and ensuring he had food and clothing through various Aboriginal organisations.

Irene said the key to ensuring her Indigenous clients remained in work revolved around building a network of support through family.

“She was a big support, she saw something in me that a lot of others didn’t,” Matthew said.

“The biggest involvement that we establish is community and family support,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll have a family meeting where I get one of the parents, or it might be an aunt or uncle, brothers or sisters, and then I’ll have a talk to them. It’s about supporting each other and working with each other – realising the importance that’s going to bring to the family. “When one family member is employed that’s going to help the whole family, not just financially, but in other ways as well, because they are going to be employed and they are going to review and think, ‘this isn’t bad, I can work and now I can get my sister in here or my brother and tell them how awesome it is’.” Matthew was down on his confidence and unemployed when he first met Irene through a Deadly Yakka program in Melbourne. He was dealing with custody issues with a former partner, he was having trouble with his current partner, and drugs and alcohol had taken a hold of his life.

Matthew successfully gained a position as a social worker at the Bert Williams Youth Services Centre in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, where he has been employed for more than two years. He credits Irene with helping him change his life.

“She fought to get me some work experience here, and that voluntary work led to me getting the youth justice role. Our work has been recognised through the courts and we’ve had articles done about us on NITV and SBS. “Life’s good for me now, and Irene’s continued to support me with whatever I need at work.” Matthew’s story is just one example of the hundreds of people Irene has helped during her time as an employment consultant. Her work was recognised with a National Employment Services Association Employment Consultant of the Year Award in 2015, and she continues to create employment opportunities for her community. “Sometimes it’s hard work, but I don’t give up on anyone. I can’t, because you just have to keep pushing and make them understand how important it is to be in work,” Irene said. “It’s a big responsibility that I hold, but it’s all about my community and putting people in a position where they can take care of not only themselves, but also their family.”


The impact by Paul Barbaro IPA Chief Operating Officer

The world of work has changed. My parents had ‘jobs for life,’ their grandchildren will have more than 12 jobs before they are 40 years of age (Forrester Research). Increased demand for talent, mobile workforces higher education standards and technology have all made finding and retaining top talent one of the biggest challenges facing corporate Australia. If this wasn’t enough, the ageing population (yes, we are getting older given the improved standards of living and medication available) will provide another hurdle for corporate Australia in the search and retention of talent. If you don’t think Australia has an issue with an ageing workforce, then consider this: 1. By 2030 there will be twice as many 65-yearolds as there were in 2009, and five times as many 85-years-olds 2. 9.1 million Australians aged 45 years or older will be working, which will represent 39 per cent of the total Australian workforce 3. Nearly 20 per cent of the labour force will be aged over 55 by 2050 4. In 1901, older people constituted four per cent of Australia’s population 5. Between 1971 – 2001 the proportion of Australia’s population aged 65 years and over increased to 14 per cent 6. By 2030, it’s estimated that around 25 per cent of the Australian population will be 65 years and over 7. Globally, older people are set to outnumber younger people in the world by 2047


The economic impacts are substantial. Increased taxation rates, improved participation rates from groups currently poorly represented in the workforce, along with changes to how people are remunerated, will have immediate and substantial impacts on how companies deal with an ageing workforce. Corporate Australia has started to respond to the challenges faced with an ageing workforce. These include: • Increased participation of females in the workforce at all levels, including executive level roles • Mapping future talent through sophisticated talent searches on social media • Hiring more mature aged workers as a percentage of their total existing workforces • Personalising the recruitment process in preference of stale selection criteria Our workforce will continue to evolve, and to get older, and the ability to find and retain talent remains at the core of organisations’ ability to achieve financial outcomes. IPA works with organisations across Australia to identify and implement suitable talent attraction strategies, to ensure our clients continue to meet shareholder expectations in an increasingly competitive landscape and with smaller talent pools to choose from. Should you require additional information regarding how your company may benefit from these initiatives, contact IPA on 03 9252 2222 or visit

There’s no place like home Pat struggles to stand for long periods of time due to ongoing health issues, and would be unable to live at home without assistance. Karingal St Laurence Aged Community Care carers, including Jenny McInerney, make Pat’s life easier, from making her bed to preparing meals. “They come every morning to help me get dressed. Because of my osteoporosis. I can’t get my arms up to get my clothes on. They make my bed because I can’t get around to make it, they’re wonderful really,” Pat said. Pat was determined to stay at home despite her health concerns, and employed Karingal St Laurence’s services through an Australian Federal Government funded Home Care Package. She said carers like Jenny empowered her to continue living in the comforts of her Horsham home. “Jenny, she’s very good to me. Anything I need she does get for me, she gives me advice and I take it most of the time. She’s very good… not a bad old stick!” Home Care Packages were introduced to help people stay at home as they age for as long as possible by providing the money needed to purchase relevant services. “It’s about their needs being met, not those of the Case Manager or any individual service provider. Everyone’s needs are different, everyone’s insights as to what they feel is important too, and that needs to be respected,” Jenny said.

Supporting you as you grow older. We’re here to help. Together. • Personal care • Home care • Community access • Home care packages Contact Karingal St Laurence today

1300 558 368

call or visit

When we were finally able to take Greta home, we were told the doctors had limited expectations of her. . .

A Voice for Greta

Campbell Trewin was a paramedic living in regional Victoria and adapting to life as a young father when his second daughter, Greta, entered the world.

Deaf. It was then they realised there was more to her disability than deafness. However, when it comes to her disability, Campbell says Greta isn’t classically anything.

“Greta had a difficult birth and was flown to The Royal Children’s Hospital by the Air Ambulance in a serious condition,” he said. “When we were finally able to take Greta home, we were told the doctors had limited expectations of her.”

“In medical terms, Greta has autism. However, she’s very sociable and happy, loves a chat and also loves being with her family or a group at an activity.

From the beginning Campbell has been Greta’s greatest advocate, educating himself in an ever changing sector through trial and error. “There are so many people with a disability who miss out on opportunities because they or their advocates are not familiar with the workings of the sector. With Greta and me, we have learnt from each door we have knocked on over the years, and are still learning.” In the early years, Greta’s parents thought she was living with ‘only’ a hearing disability, and when she was three years old, the family relocated to Melbourne from Horsham, where she started at the Princess Elizabeth Junior School for the

“When our family returned to Horsham after 12 months, a group of parents together with the Wimmera Hearing Society managed to get a hearing facility established in Horsham 298 Primary School. This was a great help to not only Greta’s education, but other deaf children who attended the unit.” When she was 18 years old, Greta moved with Campbell to Barwon Heads just as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was launching in the Barwon region, and they began meeting with the organisation. After almost two years, a place in transitional supported accommodation became available and Greta moved in.


“My reason for getting Greta into her own place is so she can have a life of her own. It has been suggested to me that I am abandoning Greta by doing this, but it’s the opposite – Greta now has her own life but is still a loved member of our family. Isn’t that what all parents wish for their children? There will come a time when I won’t be about and all the years of building her own world will hold her in good stead.” Campbell retired from paramedics to take on work abroad; allowing longer stints at home between projects. “To begin with, I’d pick Greta up the Friday night and drop her off to Karingal the Monday morning. We then extended it out to every second weekend and gradually a little longer to prepare her for my being away. The last time I was away it was for seven weeks and she did really well.” When he leaves, Greta knows it will be for ‘many days’, a term introduced to help explain the time between visits. Campbell’s time is now shared between Victoria and Queensland, but he feels comfortable leaving Greta because of her surrounding community at Karingal St Laurence’s Melaluka House in Leopold. “Greta’s a really good barometer of how her life is and how things are going around her. If she’s not

settled, and is getting into trouble, well, I just have to ask, ‘What else is going on?’ At the moment, she’s pretty happy and all you can take on board then is there’s nothing worrying her too much. “Our family and Karingal have enjoyed a comfortable two-way relationship over the past five years. If there have ever been concerns over Greta either from Karingal or myself, then the conversations have been had and the problem resolved. This relationship is very important to Greta’s wellbeing and happiness.” Campbell says first impressions are everything to Greta. “If she met you today, the way you act to her is the way that she will always expect you to act to her – you can’t change. The way that Dad is, is the way that Dad always is. So, when she comes back to me, she just slots into ‘Greta-Dad’, or ‘GretaMum’ if she is staying with her mother. She used to always sit on her Grandma’s knee when she was only a child. Well, even when Grandma was a frail, little old lady, Greta would still expect to sit on Grandma’s knee.” In the last couple of years, Campbell has seen his daughter miss out on opportunities and activities from confusion over funding. Despite his best efforts, he felt frustrated at the gaps in his knowledge. He wanted to know more about the system to offer his daughter more. While still working, Campbell completed two days a week at Box Hill Institute and 160 hours of unpaid placement over 10 months to obtain his Certificate IV in Disability. “There was a considerable amount of time involved in completing the course, but the time was well spent. When I was doing my placement hours, I had the chance to see some very special people working with some very special people.



“I wanted to have more of an idea of what is expected from disability organisations, the relationship between these organisations and the NDIS, and finally, how to construct a plan that gives Greta the opportunities for achieving happiness and a purpose in her life.

“I would have loved to have the knowledge and skills the course has given me when Greta was much younger. Simple things like persevering with the skills she has and not worrying so much about the things she has difficulties with. Hindsight is a wonderful thing... “Greta shouldn’t miss out on the opportunities life can offer her, and with the assistance of the NDIS, Karingal and my diligence, she won’t.” Campbell keeps in close contact with Karingal’s day program and Greta’s accommodation house while he is away working, to check on her welfare and ensure she is given the best opportunities. “Both are very approachable and positive with their comments. If there was a problem then I’m sure they would be on the phone to me. “Over Christmas, I brought out some books that she used to be able to read and sign to herself; simple books like Spot. But, unfortunately, over time she’d lost all of that ability.

“Also, when she was at school she was able to follow direction and type the activities she was doing for the day. Greta can be quite anxious if she’s not sure what’s happening and this exercise helped her. She used to be so proud of her achievements; she’d bring the typing home to show us all. This skill also appears to have faded over time. “Karingal have many programs and activities and I’m very happy that one of these activities can place her in the ‘classroom’ and hopefully rekindle her interest in learning. She needs to be stretched a little bit, as well as having fun doing things like bowling, swimming and cooking.” Campbell says he will happily continue working on what he calls an ‘ongoing process’ for Greta’s welfare and happiness. And, for now, Greta is enjoying focusing on her education and activities, and wearing pieces from her ever expanding jewellery collection while she waits for appropriate permanent accommodation to become available in the area.

Moving into shared accommodation Moving into your new home is an exciting time. When relocating to shared accommodation, make sure: •

Your current National Disability Insurance Scheme plan is up to date, with all support requirements listed. Remember, supported independent living needs to be a goal within your plan. If you are considering a shared living option, you will require a plan review. You bring things to help you settle in and feel more comfortable. You will be responsible

for furnishing your own bedroom. Along with furniture, remember to bring your favourite books, photos and board games to help you feel at home. For more information on shared living, please visit people-with-a-disability/ or contact Kristy Simmonds, Karingal St Laurence Manager, Shared and Respite Living on or 0407 583 864.


Carving a future in the kitchen

Each day in Karingal St Laurence’s commercial kitchen, Adrian moves at pace through a pallet of pumpkins, chopping up to three tonne per week to fill commercial orders received from hospitals and other businesses in the Barwon region of Victoria. There is a huge volume of vegetables to get through and Adrian does it without ever being able to see the pumpkin or his knife. Born with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary degenerative eye condition, Adrian wears a knife glove to protect his hand while working, and after being in the processing kitchen for over a year, he feels confident with his culinary skills.


Photography by Warwick Nation After a lifelong love of photography, Warwick recently decided to take his passion further by studying a Diploma in Photography at Oxygen College in Geelong. Warwick also runs a photo booth business with plans to expand his services following the completion of his course. Check out his work here:

“My technique compared to when I started is much

At home with his wife and three dogs, Adrian is no

better,” he said. “It comes second nature to me now:

stranger to cooking.

cut it, crack it open and bang! I clean it all out and

“I mainly do soups and slow cooks,” he said. “If I’m

chop it up. As long as you do it safely, you find your

cutting veggies at home I can be a bit over-confident

own way and what works for you.”

and then realise I don’t have that knife glove on my

From Monday to Friday, he and his guide dog

hand so I probably should take it easy!”

Wilbert make their way by train from nearby Lara to

Adrian’s future in the kitchen looks bright, with

North Geelong to begin the work day in the kitchen.

Karingal St Laurence working with JobAccess and

“I love the people here: I love working with the

Vision Australia to expand his role by introducing

guys, they’re a lot of fun, and my bosses are really

adaptive technologies such as talking scales and


other speaking devices.


Catering chef

Seasons Catering chef, Jamie Foott, has always had a love of cooking, experimenting in the kitchen both at home and school. Her professional food career started in a little Italian restaurant on the Victorian surf coast about 20 years ago, and she hasn’t stopped since. “I love cooking great food for people. I love seeing the look on someone’s face when something good comes their way, and I love people walking away with a smile because they’ve enjoyed what they’ve eaten.” Jamie appreciates a variety of foods, not favouring any one cuisine. “I love finding healthy new ways to eat and am always looking for new and exciting things for our Seasons functions. I’m usually pretty good with just making stuff up and don’t always follow a recipe.”

“When I started at Seasons, we had limited flavours in our menu but I’ve slowly introduced new things. At the moment, I have a big interest in cakes.” And her biggest tip? “I think it is extremely important to always try your food as you are cooking, making sure the flavours are right. “Try not to add too much salt as people’s tastes are different and they can always add more to their liking.” To see some of Jamie’s work both at home and at Seasons Catering, pop over to Instagram @chefjamwafootty

Constantly on the hunt for inspiration, she uses Instagram and food magazines for new ideas and direction.


Images from Instagram: @chefjamwafootty


& Rosemary


Makes 16



2 tbsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Combine oil and butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat.

20g butter 500g lamb shoulder or leg (diced) ½ cup seasoned flour 2 carrots (chopped) 2 celery stalks (chopped) 1 onion (chopped) 1 garlic clove (finely chopped) 1 tbsp tomato paste 3 rosemary sprigs, plus extra for sprinkling on top ½ cup red wine 1 ½ cups chicken stock 1 egg (beaten) 4 sheets of puff pastry (cut into rounds) 4 sheets of shortcrust pastry (cut into rounds)

2. Toss lamb in flour, shaking off excess. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned. Transfer to a plate. 3. Using the same pan, sauté vegetables and garlic for 4-5 minutes, or until beginning to caramelise. Stir in tomato paste and rosemary. Cook for 1-2 minutes. 4. Return lamb to pan with wine then pour in stock. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, until lamb is tender and sauce has thickened. 5. Line muffin tins with cut rounds of shortcrust pastry. Spoon fillings into pie bases. Brush puff pastry lids with egg, sprinkle with chopped rosemary and place on top of filling. Use a fork to prick holes in top of the pies to allow steam to escape. Bake for 15 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.


Chocolate melting


Makes 15




1. Cream the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in sifted flour, cocoa and custard powder. Roll rounded teaspoon amounts into balls and place on greased baking trays. Lightly press the top of each with a fork.

180g butter (softened) 1/3 cup icing sugar (sifted) 1 ½ cup plain flour 2 tbsp Cadbury Bournville Cocoa 2 tbsp custard powder

Icing filling: 125g butter (softened) ¾ cup icing sugar (sifted) ¼ cup Cadbury Bournville Cocoa (sifted)


2. Bake in a moderately slow oven (160 degrees Celsius) for 10-15 minutes. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes before lifting off onto a rack to cool completely. 3. Cream together the extra butter, icing sugar and cocoa to make a smooth icing. Sandwich together pairs of biscuits with icing filling. Store in an airtight container until required.

Seasons provides delicious food, catering and coffee made with a whole lot of love.

Kommercial 77-79 Douro St, North Geelong Eastern Hub Cnr McKillop & Humble Sts, East Geelong

Proudly supporting hospitality careers for people with a disability.

Barwon Water building 61-67 Ryrie St, Geelong

We use only the freshest seasonal produce. All products in The Otway Kitchen range are made by hand in small batches. All the hard work is done by a dedicated and passionate team of supported employees who are learning new skills in our industrial kitchen and building confidence in a work environment.

To find out more or to place an order please visit

101 Queen Street, Colac, 3250 45 Phone: (03) 5231 5153 Mobile: 0417 641 549 Email:


Sitting down with Caroline Mathieson, we hear about her schooling, sporting achievements, overseas travel and life in a new home.

“I went to a mainstream kindergarten at Geelong Grammar before starting primary school at Grovedale West. Some work was a challenge – maths, for instance – but the teachers were really helpful.

annual overseas trip. I went to America, Hawaii and New Zealand. It was exciting to see new places and be so far away from home. In my last year at the annexe, I won the Citizenship Award for Leadership.

“I joined my brother and sister at Nelson Park School. This was a big challenge: making new friends, learning new things, and travelling by bus. Woodwork was not my favourite subject, but I really liked reading and writing.

“Early last year, I was offered a place in shared accommodation. I have learnt how to cook a meal from start to finish, do my own laundry, shop independently at the supermarket, and take care of my own medication. Living with others is sometimes a challenge, but I am learning to adapt.

“I was at the main school campus for four years before moving on to the senior annexe by the river in Belmont. This meant learning to catch another bus, cooking and shopping. A big bonus was the


“One of the main experiences of my life was a 20 year membership of the Special Olympics. I learnt athletics, basketball and tenpin bowling. I had the

most success in athletics, where I won a gold medal in the 100 metres at the World Games in North Carolina, USA, in 1999. “I have kept up with tenpin bowling in the Achievers League, and in 2015 I won Bowler of the Year. “In the last few years I have gone on three overseas trips with family and friends. Some of them were to countries where I didn’t know the language, but I managed! I’ll never forget the

iStock / Getty Images

Christmas decorations in Vienna, seeing snow in Salzburg, visiting Windsor Castle, and going to the Eiffel Tower. “It has been an interesting journey so far. I’ve had lots of help along the way and I hope I have grown as a person.”

Photography by Phil Nitchie, Nitch Photography


What are you watching ? We caught up with St Laurence and Karingal participants to find out what they like to watch on the big screen and TV.

ADRIAN THE CROW “It’s a really interesting story and it takes a little while to work out what’s actually going on. Brandon Lee plays the role well and the make-up and costumes are very good.” Film fact: Actor Brandon Lee, son of legendary martial arts star Bruce Lee, died after he was accidentally shot while filming a scene in The Crow. The filmmakers finished the movie using special effects and existing footage of Lee.

DEREK TITANIC “I like the actors and the characters in it, Jack and Rose.” Film fact: Director James Cameron wanted Titanic’s 150 main extras to behave exactly like people did back in 1912, so he hired an etiquette specialist to coach them all.

EMRAH ARROW “It’s just an awesome show, and the main actor plays the part really well. It’s always very interesting because you never know what’s going to happen.” Show fact: Arrow star Stephen Amell often performs his own stunts for the show and is also skilled in movement discipline Parkour.

Karingal St Laurence and Scope participants came shoulder to shoulder with the world’s best surfers at the 2017 Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach, Victoria. Participants went behind the scenes to watch pro surfers interviewing after their heats, and held the much coveted Rip Curl Pro Bell trophy. The surfing competition is the third event on the 2017 World Surf League World Tour.

To know more about Karingal St Laurence’s day programs, visit


MyPath Leaders Biggest Morning Tea

The MyPath Leadership program participants worked hard to organise ‘The Biggest Morning Tea’ at the Geelong West and Corio MyPath campuses on May 25. The participants planned the event after registering with the Australian Cancer Council – with all funds raised being donated. The Leadership team advertised the event, organised all of the food and refreshments, set up the sites to cater for participants, friends and families and then forwarded the $550 raised to the Cancer Council Australia. Well done on a great effort, it was wonderful to raise so much money and see so many friends and families at the events!

Karingal St Laurence’s What We Do Day


SMILE Eastern Hub Geelong 1st birthday celebrations

Karingal St Laurence’s Southern Open Day


Tara McGowan was passionate about enhancing the lives of people with a disability before she tragically passed away at just 23 years of age. ‘Tara’s Dream House’, a nine bedroom staffed residential home in Ocean Grove for people with a disability, is being built in her honour.

Help the Tara’s Dream Foundation and Karingal St Laurence make Tara’s Dream a reality. To donate, visit


REALISE issue No.1  
REALISE issue No.1  

REALISE magazine is a new Karingal St Laurence publication which celebrates people and shares their unique stories. REALISE recognises indi...