Rocio Claret has always had a passion for working in the community. With a background as an early childhood teacher, she is driven by giving back and helping others.
“Working in the disability sector came naturally to me because I’ve always had a desire to use my work to do something of value,” says Rocio.
Working as a Team Leader at Achieve, Rocio oversees up to ten staff and more than 30 participants who attend the various My Life Day Programs at Araluen. She is responsible for all operations and the day-to-day planning of the activities as well as initiating and researching new projects.
Rocio explains, “I love being creative and coming up with new ideas. The possibilities are endless with what we can do at the Day Programs and for the people we support.”
A growing area of focus is to explore new local partnerships to support people with disability to learn new skills, build social connections, and create a variety of new experiences out in the community.
Recently, while working with a participant who has autism and severe intellectual disability, Rocio was not deterred by the participant’s preference to not get involved in any community activities and to simply observe. However, staff still asked each time when a new opportunity came up and persisted in trying to find out what might spark the participant’s interest. Eventually, something did.
Rocio at Araluen, Achieve’s Day Program centre in Epping.
”I want to explore and push the boundaries for the people we support so that they can have the most amazing lives just like everyone else.Rocio
“You can never tell when that ‘no’ to get engaged will become a ‘yes’, but you have to keep trying and, if you do, it can actually change someone’s life,” said Rocio. The participant now enjoys playing tennis at the local centre each week and likes mirroring the other players to learn new moves.
“I don’t want to settle for things just as they are. I want to explore and push the boundaries for the people we support so that they can have the most amazing lives, just like everyone else,” explains Rocio.
Rocio and Robyn, an Achieve Australia Day Program participant, celebrate Christmas in 2018.
She says it also helps having great support at work. “I’m really lucky because the team at Achieve really believes and trusts in me, even when I say I want to shake things up, do things differently and explore new possibilities,” she says.
“It’s all part of why I love my job and, would you believe, why I love Mondays,” laughs Rocio.