Latest News & Updates

Latest News & Updates

Centre stage in the theatre is where aspiring actress Emma Gordon-Smith feels most at home.

The 23-year-old Beaudesert resident slipped out her ballet slippers over 4 years ago to pursue her life’s passion – acting and singing.

This year Emma was cast in a local theatre production Song Cirle, organised by Centacare and the Blue Roo Theatre Company.

The young aspiring actor was born with Down syndrome and is one of many people with a disability who are clients of Centacare who enjoy being involved in the performing arts.

Blue Roo was started after a drama workshop for Centacare’s disability services centre was delivered to 28 disabled people in 2009.

Emma’s loving mum Debbie Gordon-Smith, remembered the day Emma decided to drop her 12 year dancing pursuit in exchange for a life in the theatre.

Mrs Gordon-Smith said Emma’s involvement in the theatre company had boosted her confidence.

“It’s been a wonderful journey and a joy to see her grow,” Mrs Gordon-Smith said.

“She’s doing something she loves, which is something that not everyone gets to do, I really admire her.”

Emma is one of three children. Mrs Gordon-Smith said Blue Roo was “more than just a drama class, it’s a good, inclusive environment that’s caring and compassionate. The Centacare staff are wonderful, and I am very impressed with their support.” Mrs Gordon-Smith said.

Mrs Gordon-Smith, who has two children with Down syndrome, said life could be challenging, but parents had to be persistent.

“You are your child’s best advocate,” Mrs Gordon-Smith said.

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Child care centres may have begun as a pragmatic solution to labour market needs, but for Centacare they are more than a child minding service. Centacare is at the forefront of investing in our child care needs, enabling Centacare to offer child care solutions for modern families.

Centacare’s 118 child care centres throughout the Archdiocese of Brisbane, contain dedicated and committed staff who provide a caring and warm environment and offer every child a chance to be part of the wider faith community.

Centacare’s network of Outside Hours School Care (OHSC), Long Day Care and Kindergartens provide care for nearly 23 000 children. The state of the art kindergartens are ergonomically designed, meaning all equipment and resources have been created especially for kindergartners.

“Our biggest expansion has been in the number of kindergartens and in making access to early learning programs easier. In turn, this enables more parents to enrol their children in Queensland approved programs such as ours”, said Peter Selwood, Executive Director, Centacare.

Centacare has recently opened two new Kindergartens, St Benedict’s Kindergarten at Mango Hill and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Gatton. We also opened new Outside Hours School Care (OHSC) services at Siena, Sippy Downs and Our Lady of Good Counsel, Gatton. Alongside the expansion of new centres, Centacare upgraded the outdoor play spaces at St Augustine’s Child Care Centre Springfield Lakes and St Mary’s Child Care Centre, Coomera.

“The past twelve months we’ve seen a continuation in the growth of our child care services and it is an example of how we are providing help and assisting families and investing in the future of our children” said Mr Selwood.

If you would like to find out more information about the locations or services provided by Centacare Child Care Services please call 1300 CENTACARE (1300 236 822).

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“Our presence is a pastoral one, we provide a listening ear – we don’t judge”

Centacare’s Prison chaplains include priests, religious sisters, lay men and women from the Brisbane Archdiocese. We offer on request pastoral care to prisoners and staff irrespective of their faith. Chaplains regularly visit correctional centres throughout the Archdiocese.

Sister Elisabeth Keane from the Sisters of Loretto Order is one of them….

“I have been visiting Numinbah Correctional Centre each week since 2000, and am yet to be given parole! Numinbah is a low classification prison farm in the Gold Coast Hinterland and being in such a beautiful setting must help the women’s rehabilitation. It was a men’s and women’s prison but is now females only with about 100 women. However they will soon be able to house up to 130. As most of the women are near the end of their sentence, a number of them are involved in community service, as well as a Work Camp at Warwick. An innovation at Numinbah has been the building of six houses with five women in each. Each house is responsible for their own cooking, cleaning and gardening – a wonderful preparation for when they leave.

What do I find so rewarding about being part of Centacare’s Prison Chaplaincy? Our presence is a pastoral one, so I go with a ‘listening ear’, accepting the women where they are at and not judging. I believe a Christian is someone who sees with the eyes of Jesus and that is what I try to do. I hope the women see me as a woman of welcome, of honour, with a compassionate acceptance, who helps them to believe in themselves, in spite of what has happened, and encourages them to forgive themselves. Only then can their self-esteem be restored.

There are many reasons why people end up in prison – mental health issues, poor education, drug or alcohol addiction, racism. I cannot solve these problems, but I do encourage the women to look at what it was that got them into prison, and how they can change in order to lessen the chances of re-offending. I believe there is good at the heart of us all, some of us have used our opportunities better, but if the women can understand a mistake is not a death sentence, and Jesus loves and forgives them, they may have the belief in themselves to choose better lifestyles.

I meet some wonderful women, and I am proud of so many of them who are now making a worthwhile contribution to our society, this is where Centacare is helping to make the difference!”

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