I have been very excited by the Woodridge State Primary School Community Learning Hub and its success with engaging families. This began through listening to my families in my ESL lessons who wanted more intensive English to improve their skills and also listening about their various difficulties with learning how to do things in Australia. For example, recently one of my parents lost his Learners Licence. He was not aware that he had to drive with a licensed driver and had been driving by himself for months. He thought that as he had a license from Iran that this gave him a full licence in Australia. As such, I thought it would be great to bring in stakeholders to educate families about driving laws and road rules in Australia. This also stimulated the idea that these sessions should also be about learning what is in the community, developing skills and improving their English for CALD families.
Afterwards, I contacted Access Community Services to enquire about their Community Safety Program and SuperSisters program and whether they would be able to run them out of the Community Hub. From there, we liaised and worked together to discuss various programs that will be beneficial to families. The Learning Hub began at the beginning of Term 3 with The Queensland Working Women Services delivering the initial workshop to ten CALD women with three interpreters. Amusingly, one of my ESL male students also turned up early for this workshop, thinking it was going to be another ESL class. I tried to explain that today was a talk for women, although he was welcome to stay and that the ESL class was the previous day. He gained greater understanding when a bunch of women walked into the room. Looking a bit startled and awkward, he decided (quickly) to come back next week.
Following this there were two Food and Safety workshops in order to prepare families for the Cooking Hub. The first Food & Safety workshop began with two participants at the beginning of August and increased to 13 participants by the following week. From here, Access Community Services delivered a five week ‘Housing and Budget’ workshops for CALD families with interpreters provided. The workshops covered ‘Household Budgets’, ‘How to Search for a Property’, ‘Saving Money’, ‘Ready to Rent your Property’ and ‘Paying Bills’. I remember walking in at the end of the workshop and seeing all 24 participants actively engaged with smiles on their faces.
Following this program Access Community Services will begin the SuperSisters program in Term 4 2014. This program will bring women together to learn about work skills in Australia, such as how to write a CV and look for jobs. I hope to bring in other stakeholders relevant to these programs, such as the Centrelink's Multicultural Officer during budgeting workshops; a manager from the Woodridge Housing Service Centre during the Housing workshops; and other stakeholders that will support families. I hope this program goes from strength to strength, to get more stakeholders involved and to respond to the needs of the community through this program. I also hope that families will begin to find out about the Learning Hub, and by having it at a consistent time and place each week, will make it accessible for them. Wish me luck!
Naomi - Hub Leader