After being diagnosed and surviving cancer last year, Tracy said she reassessed the work she was doing and decided she wanted a job where she could incorporate everything she had learnt over the years, both personally and professionally.
“I wanted to share what I have learnt and give back that knowledge and encouragement, but I didn’t know where that would be,” she said.
“I heard about the role at Calvary Ain Karim, I had visited here before in my role as a Governor-appointed community visitor and knew from this experience, I am the one for the job.”
Starting in April, Tracy has hit the ground running and has plans in the pipeline to increase the types of activities offered to residents.
With the charism of the Sisters of St Joseph at its core and now part of Calvary Community Care, Ain Karim operates two sites in Enfield which provide independent living accommodation for 21 adults with intellectual disabilities.
Tracy describes being able to support the residents and “enrich and empower” them as her dream job.
“I know we can continue do so much here, we can enrich their lives and support them by doing things with residents not just for them. It’s all about residents living their life to the best of their ability.
“The residents here are just so kind, they have big hearts, they want to thrive, they want to be in control of their decision making, they want to do things, they want experiences in life,” she added.
One of Tracy’s biggest tasks to date has been clearing the main communal living room at the bigger site which means residents can now sit together to watch television or perhaps do crafts or play games if they wish. The environment enables companionship and support.
With the introduction of resident-driven support, residents are participating in cooking, cleaning, decision making and meetings to plan for future events and changes.
A whiteboard in the room also displays the activities for each day and Tracy is keen to ensure this list is expanded, especially on weekends when the residents are not working.
Rock painting and ‘pamper days’ offering manicures and hand massages are just a couple of the activities in the pipeline. It is also hoped residents will take advantage of a Holiday Explorers program whereby they can enjoy day excursions and holidays in a group situation with appropriate support provided.
“It’s important that the residents get the same rights, the same things as we’re entitled to…and that we think of them individually and their needs, and follow that through,” Tracy explained.
The Catholic mother-of-five said her diverse work history – which includes being employed as a funeral director – stemmed from the lessons her family learned when her son was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two.
Fortunately he survived and is now in his twenties, however many families she met suffered the loss of their child.
“I have learnt about grief and loss and people and personalities, and how people deal with things at different times. I have learnt a lot about people and met a lot of people from different walks of life and I love that I can draw on these skills here at Calvary Ain Karim.”