Melinda's Heroes: Jenny Burton, Debra Linforth (Mum) & Rhonda Norman
This week is NAIDOC week, and the theme is, because of her, we can - recognising the incredible contributions Aboriginal women make to their families and their communities. In this article IPS Bookkeeper Melinda Ely shares some reflections on three of the most important women in her life.
My Mum worked as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Worker at Carey Park Primary School for 25 years. She absolutely loved her job and the kids and staff loved her. She was known and highly respected in our local community. She went above and beyond with some of the students and was always seen in the veranda with one of the students hanging off her. A lot of the students that had left school would make special visits back to see her and were always welcomed with open arms.
My Aunty Rhonda has worked for the Department of Human Services for 31 years. Her current role is as a Program Manager – Indigenous Employment Strategies Team. She is an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Trainer and Facilitator, Indigenous Mentor Trainer, Indigenous Mentor, Program Manager of Indigenous Mentor and Indigenous Cultural Awareness program for the department. Aunty Rhonda is very passionate about the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal people. She is also one of the strongest women I know.
My Aunty Jenny works for the Department of Human Services Child Support as a service officer and has maintained her position for many years now. Aunty Jenny is also an accredited indigenous Mentor within the Department, guiding, encouraging and supporting her Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues the way she always has with me.
My Mums taught us importance of family, and our bonds are strong. They continue to research and share their knowledge of our family tree, so our connections continue.
All three have helped shape me into the woman I am today. They have taught me strength, resilience, respect, bravery and Love……It’s because of these women, we can.