A Growing Understanding has always been about growing the skills and understanding of children, parents and the community. But this notion of A Growing Understanding being a place for everyone to grow and flourish, has become more apparent as we have grown ourselves.
Over the years, our business has gone from strength to strength, and we have only been able to do that with the support and skills of our amazing team members – our purple family of hand-picked professionals who genuinely love supporting the growth and development of the families we work with.
For us to continue this upward trajectory and grow access and understanding, our focus remains on building an organisation that always values community and care and strives to grow more than just communication skills.
Typically, a community refers to a group of people living in the same place or sharing common interests and / or attributes. But for us, ‘community’ is so much more. It encompasses our team, our families, the children and families we work with, other organisations and individuals that support the work we do, and of course, the broader community in which we operate. But community also means the bringing together of minds and skills that can ultimately augment a better life for many.
As speech pathologists, we generally have a pre-disposition to wanting to be a ‘force for good’. We want to make a difference, at least those that are part of our purple family do. And I feel it is my responsibility as the Practice Director to offer my team every opportunity to make an impact within their community and be the change they want to see. So how do we bring our community together and create opportunities for us all to grow?
We support causes close to our hearts
Our team love supporting organisations that support children and their families and are working to create connected communities and a better world for us all to thrive. This year alone, we have donated time and money to several worthy causes, including:
- Ronald McDonald House Charities – We donated $2,000 which were the proceeds raised at a community photo both we ran earlier this year, and we are also ‘silver sponsors’ of the Raise Love Charity Ball. We also donate our time (and culinary skills) regularly to cook for the families that are staying at Ronald McDonald House.
- Got Your Back Sista – We donated $1,000 to help women escaping domestic violence.
- Cancer Council – We always support Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea
- Newcastle Special Children’s Christmas Party – We donated $5,000 to support the biggest Christmas party for children who truly deserve a special moment of joy.
- Newcastle Regional Show – This one may seem like an odd choice, but it is an NFP organisation with a focus on local families and the community. This year, we sponsored the Animal Nursery, plus, I am a country girl at heart and volunteer my time as a board member.
- Speech Pathology Australia’s Book of the Year – Melissa and I donate our time as judges to help the organisation choose the books of the year and support the development of literacy skills in Australian children.
- Regrow – We love a good tree analogy at A Growing Understanding so what better gifts are there to give the team than a beautiful bracelet that represents their growth and the growth of the physical environment. With each gift, a tree was planted for each team member.
Offer community events to ensure all can access the services and support they need
We know that not all families can access or even understand the support and services available to grow the skills and confidence of their children. It is because of this that we dedicate our time to developing and delivering complimentary community events that give families an opportunity to connect, grow their understanding and gain access to valuable advice and information.
Through our shared story events we connect with families on a monthly basis across three locations (Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie), offer them a unique opportunity to develop essential skills and provide them with informal support and advice from experienced speech pathologists.
Build on our internal community and ensure we support each other’s growth and passion
Of course, the idea of ‘community’ can only grow when it comes from within. For our team to have community spirit, and that all-important sense of belonging, we must support each other. While many organisations offer Corporate Social Responsibility programs and support various causes, we start by supporting the dreams, passions, ideologies, experiences and achievements of each other.
We stay connected through online platforms and regular face-to-face events, we grow our skills through team development programs, mentorships and shared knowledge, and we celebrate each and every one of our achievements (big and small).
Growing a Caring Culture
‘Culture’ is a word that is thrown around a lot when it comes to team development and growth. Many organisations talk of “cultivating a certain culture” that team members must ‘fit’ within. But for us, our culture is our team. And when you have a team full of genuinely caring and kind individuals, you have grown so much more than just a cultural ethos that is written on internal documents. You have grown an organisation that is guided by individual passion, dedication and care.
At A Growing Understanding, the idea of ‘care’ guides what we do every day. Not only do we care about the achievements and growth of the children and families we work with, but we care for each other. In fact, the word ‘care’ itself leads our core values:
We achieve results and we celebrate when we do. We surprise and delight the children, families and professionals that we work with. We celebrate the families’ successes as we celebrate our own.
We aim to provide convenient and timely speech pathology services for families. We demonstrate openness, honesty and fairness in all our interactions and practices with our clients, colleagues and the wider community. We do what we say we will do and act with responsibility in all our relationships.
We give everyone a fair go. We listen. We are always respectful with our colleagues, families and within the community.
We will serve as an industry leader, providing high quality, evidence based and personalised speech pathology services that achieve positive outcomes for children and their families.
By nurturing the caring humans that are part of A Growing Understanding and providing opportunities for them to care for and support the wider community, we can continue to grow more than communication skills. We can create a meaningful workplace, deliver valuable services and grow communities that value the diversity of skills, knowledge, backgrounds, thoughts and approaches that make our world so beautiful.