Local Community Benefits from Passion and Experience
When Andrea Hogan visited the Warrnambool Special Development school and saw the happy faces of children who had returned from a school camp, she knew that she’d found herself in the right job. When a previous funding source ceased, putting future camps in doubt, WDEA Works Foundation stepped in, donating $10,000 towards school camps for secondary students in years 9 to 12.
“Logistically, it can be difficult travelling with special needs, and this often means additional costs. We wanted to reduce some of these barriers, so the students had the opportunity to experience a school camp,” she said.
Recently appointed to the new role of Director of Communications and Engagement at WDEA Works, Andrea regularly witnesses the barriers that people with a disability face in their day-to-day lives and has been pleased to discover how rewarding it is working for the not-for-profit organisation.
“I’m so proud to work for an organisation that swiftly donated $10,000 to ease the costs on parents,” she said.
“The smiles on the kids’ faces really drove home why we do the job we do.”
A recent move from Adelaide to Warrnambool is just one of the steps Andrea has made in a varied and interesting career. Her work in the tourism industry demonstrated a natural talent for communications, so after studying marketing, she launched herself in a new direction.
“I had two young boys at the time and was juggling family life and work life. The only time I could study was late at night. It was a long and challenging few years, but I think when you find something that ignites your passion you find a way to make it work. It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” she said.
The WDEA Works philosophy for improving people’s lives through community inclusivity appealed to Andrea. WDEA Works supports our community through a variety of avenues including various NDIS Activities, and as a registered training organisation specialising in First Aid and Early Childhood Education Courses. In addition, we also support people with a disability or disadvantage find open employment or employment within our Social Enterprises division. In its capacity as a not-for-profit organisation, WDEA Works takes its surplus funds and channels them back into local community via the WDEA Works Foundation. Community groups receive help in the form of grants, donations, sporting and youth programs, sporting club sponsorships and achievement awards, all of which reinforce community connections.
“WDEA Works believes that everyone has value, and everyone deserves to feel valued. Providing people with opportunities that promote self-belief and confidence is critical to a stronger community,” she said.
“What our organisation does every day is incredible. Our teams have so much experience working with people experiencing disability and disadvantage, helping them to find jobs. And when those people find jobs, their lives and their communities change for the better,” she said.
WDEA Works is rolling out the WDEA Works Foundation 30 Year Anniversary Community Grants, with applications now open. With $100,000 available in community grants, she expects it to be a busy time for the organisation.
“This funding will make a huge difference for the successful organisations supporting people with a disability.”
“Ultimately, adding value to community is the heart of our organisation.”