Suzanne's Story

I am so blessed to be living out my dream through a job that not only brings the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of so many families, but comes with the flexibility to make time for my own family.

I’ve been the Admin Support Officer for Flourish Australia’s Women and Children’s Program since 2015. Essentially, this involves EVERYTHING, from basic admin tasks like reporting, doing the petty cash and ordering stationery; to very practical, hands-on help like getting one of our six villas set up and ready to go for the next mum who needs it. It’s the most diverse role I’ve ever held and I genuinely look forward to coming in to work each day with my to-do list, only to have it change completely by mid-morning.

There’s not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new from the women I work with here. I’ve even turned my hand to servicing cars. We get Oz Harvest in once a week which I distribute among the families staying here and arrange it nicely so it looks fresh and appealing. It’s an opportunity for me to chat with the women who all have such touching stories.

One lady was here for just three months before moving into our 18 month Transition Program and soon after, was offered the opportunity for a five year lease through another service. She was pregnant and it all happened so quickly that she found herself with no furniture to fill the new house. So I put up a post on Facebook and enough furniture was donated to fill the whole house! My husband and his friend worked with one of the Transition Workers here and her husband, to transport it and we all set the home up together.

This is the sort of thing that’s possible when you are surrounded by such positive people that jump at the chance to help anyone in need.  I have such respect for what the Transition, Mental Health Workers and Managers are able to do in the lives of the families we support. I see the mums come in, feeling completely overwhelmed and with nothing, and watch hope grow in them. They come through the program believing they can succeed and they move on with their life.

Before Flourish Australia I worked in a pharmacy, as an account manager for an international removal company, and in banking, as well as retail and travel – which I hold a diploma in.

My husband’s maintenance company had been doing the lawns for the Women and Children’s Program when they put out a tender for cleaners.  I came down here with my husband to quote and thought to myself that this would be such a positive place to work.  I ended up doing the exit cleans after each family moved on from the villas, then five years later, an admin position came up and I got the job!

I’ve always wanted to run a hotel or motel with just a few rooms, so this is like living my dream! It doesn’t feel like work to me; it’s more an extension of what I would be doing with my life anyway. My whole family gets involved – like when Flourish Australia had their 10 year anniversary and my husband and daughter came down to set everything up with the team here and help with the BBQ.

I would like to travel and experience more of Australia one day but I love what I do here so much that I just want to stay involved and play my part in changing the lives of the families that come through here.

My vision is for Flourish Australia to be recognised more widely for what they do.

I hope that one day we’ll be able to expand and replicate what we offer here, to many more families. It’s a sad fact that even if we owned every house in the surrounding streets, we could fill them all with women and children in need and make such a difference to their life experience.

I know my own parenting style has changed as a result of taking on board what I hear the Mental Health workers here say to the mums.  You don’t get a guide book when you have a child and their guidance is so insightful. It has definitely helped me to connect more naturally with my son.

Knowing I’m 100% supported to be my personal best in this work environment makes all the difference in the world to my life as a whole. Flourish Australia provides the flexibility to balance the needs of my own family with my commitment to the families we serve here – which means everybody wins !  

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