KATISHA Jackson is a proud advocate for families in her community after progressing from a HIPPY participant to tutor and then Riverland coordinator of the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters.
The proud Yorta Yorta and Wemba Wemba woman was first involved with the program while supporting her nephew and quickly saw the benefit of its focus on early education.
“I fell in love with the program and was fortunate enough to gain employment as a tutor,” she said.
“My journey with HIPPY started in 2014 when I was a new mother with an eight-month-old daughter and, being new to parenting, I felt like I did not have all the tools or confidence to be a strong role model for her education.
“It was not just about my daughter, but my nephew also – he was 4 years old at the time, so perfect for HIPPY and I took that opportunity to enroll him so I could support my nephew with his education as well as it giving me some great one on one time to build a stronger relationship with him.”
Katisha progressed to employment with ac.care as a Riverland HIPPY tutor, working with other parents through the program, which is facilitated across Australia by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and funded by the Federal Department of Social Services.
“My passion and understanding of the program only grew stronger as I could see the difference in not only the relationship with my nephew that I had, but also to see the positive impact it was making in the families lives that were enrolled in HIPPY and the confidence they were gaining with being their child’s first teacher and genuinely having so much fun while doing the activities,” Katisha said.
COMMUNITY FOCUS: Riverland woman Katisha Jackson has progressed from a Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters participant to a tutor and now regional coordinator. She shared her journey at the launch of national research this month at the ac.care Murraylands Centre, which showed strong results from HIPPY in regards to school readiness, parental engagement in early learning and job readiness for parents involved in the program. Read more about the launch at www.accare.org.au/national-research-launch
“I was a tutor for almost two years and during that time I finally understood also what it meant to work in a team environment.”
She said her previous employment had not provided the support or inspiring opportunities to generate change.
She progressed to becoming ac.care’s Riverland HIPPY coordinator in 2016, when her daughter also entered the program.
“Our HIPPY journey together gave me a clear direction on how to support my daughter, which was a different experience to completing the journey with my nephew,” she said.
“It made supporting my daughter empowering in such a positive way and watching her build her confidence while celebrating her successes introduced a great sense of pride and identity for her by just adopting the activities into our everyday home routine and I know I have the HIPPY program to thank for giving me those tools to support her and see her grow.”
Katisha explained the HIPPY experience also helped her daughter transition to school.
“She has such a love to learn and being okay with not getting things right all the time, which was important to me because it’s okay to make mistakes as that’s how you learn,” she said.
“It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that as a community and for families individually we can support each other to make a positive change for growth while gaining strong positive relationships.”
ac.care can be contacted on 1300 ACCARE (1300 22 22 73).
Read more about the research launch at www.accare.org.au/national-research-launch/