Loss and Grief Support Worker
I am 51 years old and married with three children. I have lived in Southland for most of my life and am passionate about supporting this community. I have a wide range of skills developed over the years from previous employment including being able to supervise and train volunteers, project management, applications for grants, having a public profile and liaising with numerous professional organisations.
In 2014, I established my own private loss and grief support service called Hope Resources. I provide grief support for all ages and facilitate support groups, contract out my services to numerous organisations and lead grief education programmes.
In 2016 I left my position as the Manager of Blind and Low Vision Services for the Southland Region where I worked for 6 years managing 3 three staff and over 60 learner’s specialist needs co-ordinating services.
In 2016 I project managed and opened a community loss and grief centre which provides free support to anyone in the community requiring help. This service works closely with health and social service providers and has bases all over Southland.
Sound knowledge of Teaching and Grief support services
* Combination of academic study and ‘real world’ training gaining a Bachelor of Education and a Diploma in Special Education; a Certificate in Trauma studies and a Certificate in Grief support.
* Registered teacher.
* A genuine passion and interest in teaching learners with specialist needs and additional disabilities and supporting their families.
* Experience in working with a variety of schools, teachers, teacher aides and other professionals, giving me a broad understanding of the aspects of specialist teaching.
* Continued professional development and courses when opportunities arise including Mindfulness and Suicide Assist trainings.
Ability to work successfully as a member of a team
* Team work has been a key part of many of my roles, including managing a small team of resource teachers of vision, as well as working within the larger BLENNZ Management team towards the successful completion of National projects.
* I have been the key team leader for the establishment of the loss and grief centre and project managed this myself.
* Multi agency experience working in collaboration for the best outcomes for children.
* I have experience with and am confident working across a large number of other teams such as schools including Early Childhood Education, primary and secondary bases; and health and social service networks.
* I am a team player and believe all of the team have valuable skills to contribute.
Commitment to success in professional development
* Ability to network effectively in a national service across New Zealand.
* Enthusiastic participation in professional development and ongoing workplace learning.
* I have developed and delivered professional trainings to colleagues, parents and community agencies.
* Detailed record keeping, plans and evaluations across all roles.
Excellent skills in management
* Specialist skills in managing a small team within a large NZ wide network.
* Competent at managing my own workload including a caseload of 30 learners and their families and educational placements to ensure service delivery matches learner needs; as well as project managing the opening of the centre.
* Responsibility to develop and maintain important external relationships within the Southland region including health, education and social service groups.
* Value is placed on the importance of internal relationship management within the workplace environment by prioritising staff communication and coaching sessions.
* Thorough and detailed files completed detailing all communication, observations and teaching goals for all learners.
* Establish and maintain collaborative relationships with professionals and families.
* Experience managing paid staff and volunteers.
* Oversight of budgets.
* Responsibility for projects at a national level.
Excellent Communication skills
* Clear and specific written reports targeted to the reader in a variety of formats.
* Clear and effective processes in place to ensure all staff receive information in a timely manner.
* Active listener.
* Competent user of Excel and Word for communication to parents and management,
* Proficient in the use of Power point and Multimedia presentations.
* Experience in public speaking to a variety of professional and nonprofessional audiences.
* Comfortable leading professional development sessions.
Director Southland Loss and Grief Centre
Invercargill June 16 – current
I established and oversee the Southland based loss and grief centre and all of its programmes, drop in sessions and support groups.
This role involves responding to any individuals needs spontaneously and supporting the clients to find the relevant support.
Skylight Trust Trainer
New Zealand wide June 15 – current
Trained to provide the Getting Stronger game training and lead Travellers workshop for skylight Trust under contract.
Both are programmes offered nationally.
Specialist ORS teacher
Waihopai School Jan 16 – Dec 16
I provided specialist teaching support for learners enrolled at Waihopai School who were attending the Park Unit for specialist support. This involved offering specialist vision support programmes for certain learners once a week for a morning.
Manager BLENNZ Southland
Resource Teacher Vision Jan 09 – March 16
I managed a team of three staff in my role, one based off site in Gore. My role included daily management and provision of services to blind and low vision learners in Southland and oversight of the staff providing this support; National management responsibilities for special projects and national direction/policies; managing a budget for the centre; providing on-going training and up skilling for staff to ensure professional development is current; supporting teachers and teacher aides we work across Southland by providing regular reports and suggestions relevant to the learners, offering professional development to schools and other professionals around vision impairment; co-ordination of specialist services for learners and ongoing support for families we are involved with. Essentially I was a resource teacher of vision but had significant management responsibilities as well as co-ordination of resources and service to schools for all of the Southland caseload.
Hope Resources/Loss & Grief Support Worker
Private Business Nov 2014- current
I started Hope Resources in response to requests from professionals and families for more support around loss and grief. I have a full selection of Skylight resources and many of my own that I have sourced from around the world.
I am a Skylight approved trader and a Getting Stronger Game Facilitator also.
I offer courses for professionals covering a variety of topics around loss and grief including Kids and Grief and Chronic Sorrow.
I also facilitate support groups for children-In the Same Boat and Seasons for Growth.
I hold a number of contracts with organisations to provide specific loss and grief support to their clients including Crowe Howarth supporting one of their clients around developing skills in loss and grief; Age Concern to offer 1-1 grief support and facilitate support groups for their clients and provide professional development sessions; CCS Disability to provide 1-1 grief support and lead professional development sessions; CCF to provide 1-1 support to their clients and managing loss and grief centre..
Specialist ORS teacher
Waihopai School Jun 04 – Dec 08
I provided specialist teaching support for learners enrolled at Waihopai School who were attending the Park Unit for specialist support. This involved co-ordinating programmes for ORS students and running my own classroom programme for those learners who were not mainstreamed at all. I also had responsibilities for co-ordinating many of the specialist programmes offered at the unit eg RDA, and co-managed the unit for 2 years.
Buddy Programme Facilitator and Temper Tamers Group Facilitator
Presbyterian Support Southland Jan 01 – May 04
I was responsible for the training, approval and ongoing support of adult volunteers who were matched with young people who needed and adult mentor in their life. I also had responsibilities to support the families throughout this process and provide social work interventions. This position was for 20 hours per week.
I facilitated a small group called Temper Tamers which was run to help young students with their anger issues. This course ran once a week for 8 weeks.
Part time teacher
Waverly Park school Jan 99 - Dec 00
Working with year a 5 and 6 student with special needs in the mainstream classroom programme for 5 hours daily.
Kip McGrath Tutor
Invercargill Jan 97 – Dec 00
Working with small groups of students tutoring them within the Kip McGrath programme.
Correspondence School Tutor
SES/ACC Jan 95 – Dec 96
Working 1-1 with a secondary student in my own home co-ordinating his correspondence school work. 25 hours per week.
Part Time teacher
Milton and Tokoiti Primary school Sept 90 – Dec 94
Working with small groups, classes and taking teacher and principal release.
Junior school Teacher
Green Island School Jan – 89 – May 90
Working with New Entrants and year 1 students.
University of Otago and Dunedin Teachers College
Diploma of Teaching Jan 85- Dec 88
Bachelor of Education. Jan 85 – Dec 88
Diploma in Special Education with a vision impairment pathway. 2008
Braille proficiency exam pass 2008.
Certificate in Trauma Studies 2014
Lois Tonkin Certificate in Bereavement Studies
Other relevant courses:
Child Youth Family Training-Dynamics of Maltreatment 2001
Skylight Grief Course 2002
Family Counselling Practises 2003
Understanding Behaviour from a Sensory Perspective 2004
Working with Families in Crisis 2004
Tony Atwood Autism Conference 2004
Autism NZ Sue Larkey course 2005
Autism NZ S.P.E.L.L. Programme 2005
ILT Teachers Conference 2006
Employment Focussed Awareness training – working with underutilised workforce 2008
Leadership Training 2010
Treaty of Waitangi training 2012
Child Protection services-Recognising and Responding to Child Abuse 2012
Autism NZ training 2012
Autism NZ – Wendy Lawson course 2013
David Anderson Leadership Training 2013
SPEVI conference 2013
Jane Erin training on working with learners with Complex needs 2013
First Aid training 2013, 2015
Seasons for Growth facilitator training 2014
Companioning the Dead and Dying training 2014
Supporting Kids going through Tough times-Skylight 2015
Getting Stronger Game Training 2015
Training to become a Skylight Trainer for the Getting Stronger Game 2015, Travellers programme 2016
Mindfulness course December 2015
Suicide Assist National course – 2 days – November 2016
2010 - present
2010 - present