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Celebrating Reconciliation Week with Programs Officer Lionel

This Reconciliation Week, we sat down with proud Gomeroi man and Jajumbora Children and Family Centre (CFC) Programs Officer Lionel to talk about his passion for sharing his knowledge of arts and culture with the community. 

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a Gomeroi man from Mungindi and Collarenebri. I spent most of my life in Dalby working with community before moving out to Ipswich during the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

How long have you been at ATSICHS?

I have been working for ATSICHS since September 2021. I started as an FPP practitioner at the Chermside office and am now working in programs at Jajumbora CFC in Waterford West.

Why did you want to work for ATSICHS?

I chose to work for ATSICHS because I wanted to continue my work with our community. I also wanted to work with a community-led service and had heard positive feedback before starting. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the support of great leaders.

Can you tell us more about your role at Jajumbora CFC?

I am part of a team of six here at Jajumbora CFC. I develop and facilitate programs for children and families in the Logan area with the support of my team. We also provide wraparound support and referrals. My focus areas are arts and culture.

What is the most rewarding part of your role?

Forming relationships with the community, sharing culture with children and families and utilising my creative skills in my work. 

How do you promote reconciliation through your work?

I am passionate about sharing my skills, knowledge and experience with anyone who wants to learn. Here at Jajumbora CFC, we run programs with the local schools in the area, and it’s great to see how eager and interested the children are to learn about our culture. We’ve run a successful detention mindfulness group where we guided the children through a meditation using the didgeridoo, and each week we have a great turnout at our Culture Club program.

Why did you choose to work in early childhood?

It began as a change from human services and grew into a range of new ways to connect with and support our people. Being able to have a hand in the upbringing of our children in the community and sharing my knowledge is a huge bonus.

What is your favourite program at Jajumbora CFC and why?

The art class is my favourite program as this is in line with one of my favourite pursuits. It doesn’t feel like work at all. It’s my goal to support our people to develop their art skills in the hope that it boosts their wellbeing. I firmly believe that art is therapy. I also hope that I can inspire our clients to have a life long love of art and they continue with it for a long time.

Why do you think Reconciliation Week is important?

To me, reconciliation is all about sharing our knowledge and learning from each other. I love my role at Jajumbora CFC because I get to do that every day. Working with children means that the knowledge and lessons we teach them will stick with them for a long time so that when they grow up into adults, they will always have this respect for our culture and people with them. It’s nice to be able to make a difference like that.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I enjoy playing sports and being creative. I also love comedy and laughing.

If you were an animal which animal would you be and why?

Black Cormorant. I could fly, dive in the water and swim. I could sit on a log and dry off in the sun.

What is your most unique talent?

I can do a backflip.

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