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Mateship at work captures scholarship

St John of God Accord’s Glen Melbourne is a humble guy, making a big difference to the lives of clients with disabilities and their families who come to St John of God Accord for respite, as well as the caregivers who work alongside him.

When Glen received the news he was the 2017 Jennifer Stratton Scholarship winner he was characteristically modest.

“You think you just do your job, you don’t think you are even being noticed or that what you do will catch anyone’s eye,” Glen said.

The annual Jennifer Stratton Scholarship prize recognises a single caregiver for how they demonstrate the Vision, Mission and Values of St John of God Health Care in their everyday work.

Glen has been a respite team leader at St John of God Accord for 11 years “giving clients a home away from home for a short period of time and providing Mum and Dad with a break.”

It was a huge career shift for Glen who’d come from building mud brick homes for a living.

“I’d never worked with people with disabilities before but thankfully I wasn’t thrown into the deep end. I was given extensive training and transitioned to be introduced just nicely,” Glen said.

“I’ve seen young clients grow into adults and it is amazing to reflect on being part of their lives for such a long journey.

“I’ve seen dramatic changes in them and developed strong relationships with their families, which is such an important element of our care.

“Professionally, the bond you develop with your clients is that of a carer but over long periods of their lives you can’t help but develop a friendship – that’s life. A mateship I’d call it! Ex-clients who now live independently will drop in for a quick coffee and to say g’day.”

Glen credited his colleagues for demonstrating the values in action every day.

“It’s a really stable working environment, which says something very positive about the program. Out of the seven staff, four have been here longer than I have.

“You do see positive changes in people’s lives – it’s very rewarding, that’s why we have longevity.

“A respite house is created by its staff and the presentation of the facility – our people create the positive and consistent environment for our clients.

“It goes back to the Values of St John of God Health Care of always being hospitable and showing a lot of empathy,” Glen said.

As the 2017 Jennifer Stratton Scholarship winner, Glen will join a pilgrimage to Spain and Ireland and retrace the steps of Saint John of God and the founding Sisters of St John of God.

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Respite Team Leader Glen Melbourne's commitment to caring for his clients earned him the 2017 St John of God Health Care Jennifer Stratton Scholarship, a formation opportunity to attend the organisation's pilgrimage to Spain and Ireland.