Meet Centacare’s fab four – the young guns determined to inspire a new generation of disability workers.

Together they help run much-loved Kolbe Cottage, a respite service for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

For more than 35 years, Kolbe has been a home away from home for children aged five to 18 years and, most recently, adults.

At 26, Support Worker Lauren Glenn is the oldest of Kolbe’s new age of staff bringing their own brand of energy to work each day.

“I can’t imagine not being here; I was working in retail before and it wasn’t nearly as stimulating or rewarding,” said Lauren, who followed her mother (longtime Centacare Disability Support Worker, Fiona Glenn) into the field in early 2019.

“There are endless opportunities. Every day is different.”

Team Leader Tahlia Bray, 25, also made the jump from retail to disability services. After completing a Certificate III in Disability, Tahlia joined Centacare in 2017. She would like to see career pathways in disability given a greater profile in schools to encourage more young people to follow in her footsteps.

“My high school was directly opposite a service provider and not once were we given any education around disability or encouraged to pursue it as a career choice,” she said. “The energy we have all formed with each other as a staff group flows on to our clients, and that makes for a lot of fun.”

Zimbabwe-born Anesu Matanhire, 22, hopes to one day return to his homeland to apply the skills and knowledge he has gained as a Support Worker with Centanet, a day options program based at Kolbe.

“Sometimes as people, we are the disability by not being there for others; society becomes the disability instead of just the diagnosis,” he said. “Watching the young people we work with participate in the community just like anybody else, and knowing we have played a part in helping them do that, is pretty big.”

To those contemplating a career in disability, 25-year-old Raymond Donato’s message is simple: “Go for it! Speaking out for people and helping them is really rewarding.”

Centacare is a registered NDIS provider. For more information about the supports we offer, please phone 8215 6818, email or visit our website.