Our People

The team at Rise come from all walks of life. Here, members of our community share a little bit about themselves, their experiences and aspirations. 

Photo: Margaret Weir - Making a difference

Alex Serem - People with Disability Team

In Kenya, Alex worked for a software company and trained people to use apps and systems. He moved to Australia four years ago to complete a Diploma in IT Networking before pursuing a career as a Support Worker. “Now I don’t think I could do anything else. You get to meet different kinds of people. You get to hear different stories you wouldn’t get to hear in a normal job. You get to talk to them. You become their friends. I’ve learnt a lot from them. They’ve helped me.”

Alex is considering combining his background in IT with his passion for supporting people and interest in photography. “I’d like to develop an app that can help people with speech. I want to fit my IT career with disability and maybe help by teaching people how to use computers or photography.”  

Photo:   Raelene Woods - Happy go lucky

Raelene Woods - Aged Care Team

Raelene was taught bark painting by her grandfather. “My grandfather was a true tribal man who’s been through the tribal law. I used to sit as a child around a bonfire at the back of my grandmother’s house and just watch. He’d tell the stories in the sand. I’ve got all that which I teach to my children and my grandchildren.”  

Raelene's passionate about supporting young people and was involved with the Victoria Park Youth Accommodation Centre for 20 years. For the last seven years she’s been supporting older people at Rise’s Yirra Mia social centre. “I love what I’m doing now with aged care. I’m a bubbly person, I always have been. I think the centre is a happy go lucky place. Laughing is the best therapy in the world. You’re not meant to be sitting there in silence so, I make all the jokes in the world and make everyone happy go lucky.” 

Photo: Margaret Weir - Making a difference

Margaret Weir - Volunteer

Margaret’s been volunteering at Centenary House every Thursday for nearly 15 years. “I just think I’m lucky to be healthy and able to keep volunteering,” Margaret says.  

 When I first came to Rise, I was a little bit uncertain, but it didn’t take long before I got to know the people who come. They are really lovely people. It’s just a pleasure to be there and see the smiles on their face when you help them. The volunteers who I work with have been there all the time that I’ve worked there and we’ve become friends as well. We go away, maybe overnight and have an outing on a Sunday, so it’s become like a friendship place.” 

Photo: Jessica Eikelboom - Business Owner

Jessica Eikelboom - Volunteer

Jess, a 21-year-old with disability, creates stunning art pieces featuring colourful butterflies, landscapes, and birds on clay pots, as she builds her own business and connects with her community. With the support of her family and care team, she goes to shops to purchase materials, then seals, paints and packages each pot for customers. Jess enjoys meeting new people and volunteering at Rise, where she has previously delivered meals and will soon be helping out at the Yirra Mia social centre. 

Her beautiful creations are available on her Facebook page StudioJ20, offering a perfect gift that supports a young person in living the life she chooses.

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