Glasses, Accessories, Accessory, Person, Face

Meet Disability Services Team Leader Chelsey Godenzi

At VMCH, we couldn’t achieve what we do without the hard work, dedication and care of our fantastic staff. In celebration of our homegrown heroes, we’re excited to take you out to regional Victoria, where we say hello to Chelsey Godenzi. We hope you enjoy this short interview with our Team Leader for Disability Services in Wangaratta Team Leader and are inspired by her story.

I’ve been in this role for six months. I manage three Coordinators and together we lead a variety of programs looking after people with disabilities. One of these is Pathways to Possibilities, which helps adults transitioning from school to adulthood, linking them with work and volunteer opportunities. Some of our clients are also studying to do their Certificate in Education here at VMCH at the same time as the program is running. The client is number one in everything we do. Appreciating their difference and ensuring their likes and dislikes are respected is paramount.

Our programs offer a great social network. On Fridays they have outings planned. Staff support clients who are heading out and about in the community. We also have afternoon activities that we run for kids with disability, designed for social skills development, emotional regulation and role modelling for kids. We develop and encourage socialising through group activities like cooking, bowling and swimming – and everyone usually has a great time!

Our fully booked school holidays program ended last month. With up to 25 kids attending each day session, a huge effort is put in by the team to make this happen. It was great to hear positive feedback from the families of the kids who took part. That’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Prior to working at VMCH, I worked at DHSS and the NDIA. I have a lot of experience in the sector.  What has always driven me is the opportunity to provide support in order to give clients choice and control. It’s also about the importance of putting something meaningful in their day and supporting my staff to promote and deliver this human-centred approach. I’m passionate about people with disability having that choice and control in their life and for us to be respectful of everyone’s differences.

Supporting others is the main reason I entered this field to begin with. It’s not just about supporting those who have a disability. As a Team Leader, you get a chance to share your knowledge with those who are new to support work. I love nurturing my staff to develop and grow in their roles.”

The training I undertook for my role is…

A Bachelor in Community Development and Counselling at Monash.

My favourite aspect of my job is…

Receiving feedback… whether good or bad. If it isn’t great, it’s a lesson. We can build on it for next time to ensure the future experience is good one. If it’s good, well great. There’s nothing like hearing from clients that they had a fantastic day – it makes it all worthwhile.

One of the ways to overcome challenges in my job is…

Ensuring you listen actively to a person about what it is they enjoy. Proving you have listened and valued what they said is the best strategy to implement change. Here’s an example.

A young person I work with loves action figurines. Last week, he had a meltdown. As soon as I said the name of his figurine, his behaviour changed. It was about a shift in perspective; about him being able to regulate himself and extract himself from the moment. It worked! He was able to get back on the bus and join in with the activities.

When I’m not at work you will find me…

With my three sons at home. My eldest boy has autism. He’s due to start high school very soon, which means lots of changes. I’m happy to say that the boys are proud that their mum works with disabled kids and always want to hear about what’s going on at work.