A passion for social justice inspires Tenielle's work

A typical day for our Community Inclusion and Social Support Worker, Tenielle, might include organising yoga, a community lunch, a Pilates class or hairdressing appointments. As McAuley House’s Community Inclusion Support Worker her days are anything but typical.

Tenielle (pictured below) works on creating onsite social and recreation programs for women. “I work alongside the women to create and implement sustainable programs that are accessible and have positive outcomes for all women at McAuley.”

She works with external organisations such as the Yarraville Community Centre and RecWest. “We have many different facilitators for our different activities - a drama teacher, art therapist, yoga instructor and English support teachers.”

One of the favourite parts of her job is the weekly community lunch where both current and past residents return to McAuley House. “We have fostered a community of inclusiveness through staff and women sharing a lunch and some time together and I love that.”

Tenielle has a passion for women’s rights, equality, equity and social justice. “I am so glad to be part of something that creates change. Wanting a world where women feel valued and are heard is important to me.”

But the greatest driver is her own life story. “I experienced family violence and homelessness for a number of years as a youth and into my mid twenties. This is probably my greatest driver of why I love my job and what I do.”

Tenielle is often saddened by working with women who have complex trauma backgrounds. “It can be challenging sometimes as they may not ready for the journey to healing and empowerment and seeing them fall back or decline can be really heartbreaking. I see the potential in all our women.”

But her spirits are lifted by feedback from women who have begun the journey and are benefitting from the programs.

When she isn’t busy with her work at McAuley House, Tenielle is busy creating events to promote positive cultural attitudes through the Sounds of Africa and Harmonious Youth Participation Festivals, and is also studying for a degree. If that isn’t enough she is about to become a lot busier with the upcoming arrival of her second child, a sibling to her thirteen year old.

“Luckily I have a pretty awesome family – my partner Phil is always supportive.”

Tenielle says the work of McAuley is critical in empowering and protecting women and their rights.

“We give women and children a safe place to create a new beginning for themselves."

Read more about McAuley House, an accommodation and support hub for women and its unique approach to women who have been homeless.