Jane was heavily pregnant when she moved to Gore.
It was just me and my son Hugo, aged three. When visiting my local Playcentre I couldn’t get over how welcoming everyone was. We had fun and the environment felt relaxed and warm. Most of all; we felt safe. Hugo was quick to make new friends and take part in the activities, and the other parents were quick to begin building a friendship with me.
Jane is now the vice president and welfare officer at her Playcentre. She ensures that all members feel supported and loved through their hardships; whether it is a week’s worth of home cooked meals and baking when a baby is born, or care packages to families that are self-isolating, or have someone in hospital or unwell.
Our centre feels like a big family, we are alongside one another supporting not just the children explore, learn, and grow but also the parents as well.
Jane is modest. To hear her talk about it, she would have you believe that she has received much more from Playcentre than she has given. She says that she has grown a lot since moving to Gore. She puts this personal growth down to Playcentre giving her a home and good friendships. “Volunteering [at Playcentre] has helped me grow into the strong and independent person I am today. I personally think that the adult education Playcentre has available for parents is amazing and love that I have the opportunity to learn about my own children” she says.
For Jane, what really stands out to her is the achievement of one little girl who attends her Playcentre:
She has some learning difficulties that her mother has been very proactive in helping her overcome. Her mum has educated us on what we need to be saying and doing to help support them both in their journey in overcoming this obstacle. Since the beginning of this year she has already come so far in her speech, personal relationships with not just the other children but the parents as well, and also her social interactions such as saying “Goodbye” and being comfortable to give high-fives. The girl I met a year ago who was very quiet and stayed close to mum, to the girl I see in session every week I am blown away that she is the same child. She has come leaps and bounds and is truly an inspiration to me, not just in her development but also that her mum met her where she was at, loved and supported her, and allowed us to be a part of their journey. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to witness their journey and have been able to be part of the process in helping her flourish.