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Melissa Falvey

Support Worker

Community Support Worker Melissa Falvey Uses the Power of the Arts to Amplify Individual Voice and Choice

Combine passion, empathy and a strong sense of social justice, and who do you get? Our Community Support Worker, Melissa Falvey. Melissa’s generous smile and positive energy can brighten even the most challenging of days. But beyond Melissa’s warm demeanour is an unwavering determination to give people with disability the tools to live life on their terms. It’s a reality Melissa helps us create every day through her love of the arts - and she’s building an enriching career while doing so.

Seeing what’s possible, and making it happen

Ask Melissa Falvey about her work, and her eyes light up immediately. You can almost see the possibilities our Community Support Worker envisions for her clients reflected there.

“Every day, our goal is to make sure people with disability are supported to be as independent as possible,” Melissa says. “It’s about empowerment. We empower people to build the skills they want to learn to live their life of choice.”

Melissa’s enthusiasm is infectious. She’s a creative thinker, mother to a young son, and a natural explorer. Since joining Endeavour Foundation in 2012, she has impacted the lives of so many - and she’s relished the journey.

“I love supporting our clients on their adventures and seeing them grow as they achieve their NDIS goals. And to do that amongst friends, too. That’s really important. The services we provide and the safe community we’ve built with our clients and their families provides a place of belonging, which is something everyone needs. I get that ‘wow’ moment when I see the people I support really come out of their shell and realise a sense of self when they get that peer support. Witnessing a person’s self-esteem grow is amazing!”

Equality and social justice are values close to Melissa’s heart. Experiencing disability in her own family, Melissa has seen first-hand the challenges people with disability face, and the powerful difference person-centred support can make. Now, she’s providing that critical support at our Brisbane-based Learning and Lifestyle hub.

“The best thing is seeing someone develop a new skill and move forward in their lives. Those everyday successes are so important. One thing I’ve learnt at Endeavour Foundation is that when you empower others, you empower yourself. I feel like I become stronger, too.”

Empower people with disability to live their best lives.
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A career built on passion

From the moment Melissa joined our #TeamPossible, it was clear she was a perfect fit. Having previously worked in Diversional Therapy, Melissa became passionate about supporting people in the community from a holistic viewpoint. Starting with us as a Residential Support Worker, Melissa’s empathy, drive and agility saw her career grow swiftly. With training and guidance, she’s flourished in a variety of roles, including Resources and Development Officer and Acting Support and Operations Manager.

Now a key member of our Learning and Lifestyle team, no two days are ever the same for our passionate Support Worker - and that’s just the way Melissa likes it.

“Every day is different, and that’s because what we do is about client choice and control. Our clients decide what they want to learn. We offer so many program choices at our Learning and Lifestyle hubs. For a lot of our clients, having structure and routine is important, along with choice and flexibility. We have a structured program, and our clients can attend as many days as they like. They decide what they want to achieve, and we shape our programs to meet their needs.”

Melissa and her team offer skills-based programs following a person-centred support model. These programs enable our clients to identify their goals for daily living, engage with the community, and build meaningful friendships.

“For example, people might identify that they want to work in a cafe, so we will do a coffee-making program. A client might identify they would like to work in a café, so we will support them to explore what that looks like for them. They may choose to do a barista training module, get hands-on experience crafting coffees on the espresso machine with mates, or they may even take it to the next level and do a work experience program. The possibilities are endless! I find I learn a lot, too. I’ve actually learnt so much about gardening. We have a seriously amazing garden here; our clients learn to grow their own chemical-free fruit, vegetables and herbs. And of course, Melissa has learnt so much from our amazing clients, too.”

A Fine Arts graduate with a Certificate IV in Disability Studies, Melissa’s passion for the arts is something she loves to share with her clients. Her experience volunteering at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery and Museum of Brisbane has taught her that art is a form of storytelling that gives people a voice and makes a social impact.

“Our ‘Photoexplorers Program’, which supports our clients to display their work in public and online exhibitions, was a game changer because it put a focus on their journey and gave them a way to project their voice in the community. It was such a proud moment when I supported a person to enter a photographic competition, and he won the most creative category in the Brisbane City Council’s Green Heart Exhibition.”

United by purpose: #TeamPossible

With a young family, flexibility is important to Melissa. That’s why she values belonging to a team that understands and supports her life outside her role.

“We back each other up. Our team is full of amazing people who really do care - about our clients and each other. We’re also quite diverse; we’re like a melting pot of cultural backgrounds and qualifications. I just love working with people who share great values, making a great social impact. That’s really important to me.”

A lifelong learner, Melissa is currently studying a Diploma of Community Services, Case Management. She hopes to use her learnings within her role as she continues to grow her career with purpose-driven people united as one.

“Bring your passion. You can teach skills, but being passionate is what drives change and empowers our clients and community. Passion comes from within. That’s the magic of our team at the Learning and Lifestyle hub and across the Endeavour community.”

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