Volunteer caring gives back to the community
Posted on 23 September 2015 by Yooralla
As a family who have journeyed through many obstacles, Prakashni and her family decided they wanted to help other families facing challenges.
It was this motivation that led Prakashni to answer a Yooralla call for volunteer respite carers.
“I had always wanted to be a foster parent and a change in personal circumstances made me reassess my personal goals,” said Prakashni.
Prakashni became a volunteer carer through Yooralla’s Family Options Program. Carers in the program provide full-time, part-time or shared care for children and young people with disability. There are different types of arrangements, from looking after someone on weekends only to supporting them in a full-time capacity until they are ready to be independent.
Prakashni’s first respite placement was hugely rewarding. Prakashni and her family met Uli in 2005, and provided planned respite care for one weekend a month in their family home for 7 years. Family-based care allowed Uli to meet new people and participate in family activities.
“He was a big part of our family,” says Prakashni, “but of course our respite support also provided Uli’s family with a much-needed, planned break every month”.
In 2013, keen to again provide respite support to a family in need, Prakashni met an eight year old boy with cerebral palsy. With the support of her three children, Prakashni entered into a shared care arrangement, providing respite care every weekend for Declan.
“Declan is an exceptional young boy who instantly bonded with our family and developed a tremendous connection with my children. Declan even has one of my sons completely wrapped around his little finger!” said Prakashni.
Weekends in the Reddy home are planned around mealtime – Declan’s favourite time of day. “We love variety and eat meals in different rooms of the house, use different equipment, have sing-alongs and watch Playschool,” said Prakashni.
This passion for providing respite care is something that Prakashni attributes to the opportunities that living in Australia has afforded her and her family. “Being able to support another family has been incredibly rewarding experience,” she says.