Janelle (right) wants to be a positive role-model for young women in the community.
Janelle Evans says her goals are simple, to be a positive role-model for young women in the community; an advocate for her people and ensure locals have the same access to services that people in the city receive.
Janelle is Case Manager at the Red Cross operated Gumbi Gunyah Women's and Children's Wellbeing Centre in Woorabinda, an Aboriginal community two and half hours drive inland from Rockhampton, Central Queensland.
The centre supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, or escaping domestic and family violence.
It provides crisis, short-term supported accommodation, as well as a safe space for women and their children to meet, support one another, build skills and participate in group activities.
Janelle says the women and children often come in confused and emotional, but after settling them in you can see the stress easing as they feel safer and listened to.
"I feel privileged that the women trust us enough with their stories and are willing to take advice from our staff. But we never tell them what they should do, we always ask them what they want to do."
Janelle knows that being local is an important part to building trust. She grew up in Woorabinda, her mother and grandmother were born there and she's a traditional owner through her grandfather's side, the Wadja people.
Red Cross is committed to increasing our employment of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as they understand their communities, and help us work best together. Red Cross has 10 full-time and four casual staff in Woorabinda, all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. They work on a range of programs from supporting young people and families to community engagement.
"We live in our community, we know our people and have a way of finding out what they want," Janelle says.
Janelle says it's also important her work is supported by the Woorabinda Governance Group. Consisting of Elders, councillors and Red Cross representatives, the group ensure that programs are driven and delivered by the community.
"We're all here for one purpose to help one another, that's our way. We need to get back to some of the simple things, our own values and work together to build a stronger community."
For Janelle that means a focus on ensuring Woorabinda residents have the same access to services as people in the city.
A goal which will see a host of new projects at the Gumbi Gunyah Women's and Children's Wellbeing Centre in 2012.
"We're looking at working with the Queensland Health Network and doing a women's forum with the women of Woorabinda, Janelle says excitedly.
"And setting up with Family Planning Queensland to do some education with other service providers in regards to child safety in terms of your body."
Red Cross is committed to working together as partners with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We aim to support families and communities as they drive and lead their own solutions to achieve positive change.