St Francis College Community Hub – My experiences with its evolution (by Tammie Usher)

03rd September 2014


Hello my name is Tammie and I am one of the Hub Leaders involved in the Community Hub Program. There are 5 Hubs in Logan, one at Woodridge, Woodridge North, Mabel Park, St Paul's School and myself at St Francis College in Crestmead. The purpose of these hubs is to be creating a safe a welcoming environment that assesses the needs and engages with families within the school and the wider community. Every hub has different needs to address within their community and every hub has a different story to tell, but I’m here today to share with you our story.

St Francis is a wonderful place to be and I feel blessed every day that I have been given this position where I get to help and engage with not just the families of the school but the wider community that Crestmead has. When I first stepped into this position, running the playgroup was the biggest thing that I was involved in where 3-4 families were attending, now after running the playgroup for about 5 months the number has increased to about 12 regular families attending where I have sourced out an outside organisation called Sing & Grow to increase child/parent relationships and enhance child development through the joy of music and dance. The enjoyment of this program can be seen by the mere smiles on everyone’s faces each week.

After having many conversations with the parents in playgroup it came quite clear that I was hearing the same thing of the local families being socially isolated, they had no family over here and didn’t really know anyone to build peer supports with. These mothers have just completed a term of engaging with other mothers and building peer relationships while having the privilege of being linked with our school chef delivering Healthy Budget Cooking Classes where they prepared and cooked the meals at the school, then took the meals home to share with their families to create positive conversations and relationships within their homes.

The demographics of St Francis has a high percentage of Pacifica and Maori cultures and through some extensive research that has been undertaken it is apparent that they may not be making the right health choices for their families. So we have partnered up with Good Start who has government funding to be delivering a culturally sensitive health and nutrition program, directed particularly at these families. This is a program where a qualified personal trainer is attending the school every week to provide education on healthy choices and a training session where the whole family is involved in changing their lives for the better.

One of my biggest good news stories comes from a mother who attends the Community Hub. During a conversation I had with her, she indicated that she wanted more for herself and undertake some kind of training or education to increase her chances of securing a job but didn’t know how to go about it. I took this conversation and made a few enquires and before long she was enrolled in studying a Certificate III in Community Services. This mother is now completing her practical hours with a focus on youth work and is about to graduate.

This is the best thing about being a Community Hub Leader, that it only needs to start with a conversation and someone to drive it and the options are endless of what we can be implementing to help our families in Logan. Next term I will be introducing a pre prep program that will increase the skills so our new students can be prep ready, understanding routines, recognising their names, knowing their school environment and making it a better and smoother transition into prep.

The Community Hubs are such a wonderful thing that has been implemented within Logan. Positive relationships are being made, people are being connected with needed programs and services within their community and outcomes are being met from child development, training, education, settlement issues and health. It’s great to be living and working in Logan and helping our families to connect with the wider community.  I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you for inviting me here today to share the great things that are happening within the Community Hubs.

St Francis College Community Hub – My experiences with its evolution (by Tammie Usher) St Francis College Hub Leader Tammie Usher at the Logan: City of Choice Initiative

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The National Community Hubs Program is an initiative of Community Hubs Australia, supported by the Scanlon Foundation and the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

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