TAKE TWO

Jenni Sorensen and Mandy Stone

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

Mandy Stone

I was trav­el­ling around Aus­tralia with h my fam­ily and study­ing so­cial work by y dis­tance ed­u­ca­tion at a Vic­to­rian uni­verrsity at the same time. I needed to stop p at a big town to sit some ex­ams, so we stopped in Cairns. We loved Cairns and d de­cided to stay there for a while. Once I fin­ished my de­gree, I ap­plied and was as suc­cess­ful as the Com­mu­nity De­vel­opp­ment Worker at the Port Dou­glas Neigh­h­bour­hood Cen­tre. I loved this re­gion so o much that within 12 months we had d bought a block of land in Wangetti and d re­lo­cated an old Queens­lan­der onto it. t. There I have stayed for 10 years, and see ee no rea­son to ever leave.

Grace Parkes kept telling me about ut this friend of hers she was go­ing to bring g to the cen­tre to help me with my fil­ing. g. When I first met Jenni, I thought “Fil­ing, g, she might break a fin­ger­nail”. She was ex­tremely well-dressed and beau­ti­fully

When I first met Jenni I thought,

‘Fil­ing, she might break a fin­ger­nail’”

made up and she looked like she was off to a very posh lunch meet­ing. Very dif­fer­ent from me, who is known to turn up to work with my clothes in­side out, not notic­ing un­til some­one - usu­ally Jenni - tells me.

I re­ally won­dered how Jenni and I would get on. It just goes to show you should never judge by ap­pear­ances. When Jenni hadn’t been here long she was elected as pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and one day she came in dressed to the nines, and got in the hot, messy store­room and cleaned it out, be­cause she knew it was driv­ing me mad.

Jenni is amaz­ing - she does ev­ery­thing and any­thing you ask her. What I ad­mire about her is that if she sees some­thing that needs do­ing she gets in there and does it. To­day she was weed­ing and plant­ing in the veg­gie gar­den. Other times she rep­re­sents the cen­tre at meet­ings with the Min­is­ter or se­nior bu­reau­crats, she cleans out the re­frig­er­a­tor, or­gan­ises raf­fles, teaches se­niors to use com­put­ers, writes letters, works in the NicNak Shed ... the list goes on.

I ad­mire her gen­eros­ity of spirit, sense of hu­mour, fierce sense of so­cial jus­tice and glam­orous dress sense. Jenni is the wind be­neath my wings and she backs me up at all times.

Jenni is not funny in­ten­tion­ally, it’s too hard with the rest of us around, but she does do funny things. This week she dressed up Dino the di­nosaur to pro­mote the Cen­tre’s 21st birth­day and he had a hole in his stom­ach so she put bal­loons in there to cover up the hole. They have since shrunk and sagged, and now we know that Dino is def­i­nitely a boy. The com­ments from passers-by have been hi­lar­i­ous.

Jenni Sorensen

I first came to Port Dou­glas with my hus­band Brian in 1988. We stayed at the newly-opened Sher­a­ton Mi­rage and pur­chased a unit in The Queens­lan­der in Mudlo Street just down from the “Old Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre” and lived there in ’89 while we put the roof on The Pier in Cairns. Since then we came up to Port five or six times a year and have owned var­i­ous prop­er­ties and dur­ing this time we met Geoff and Grace Parkes as we used their li­mou­sine ser­vice reg­u­larly.

When Brian passed away in March 2008 Grace de­cided that I needed some­thing else to oc­cupy my mind so she took me to the Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre in June 2008 with the in­ten­tion of me help­ing Mandy with her fil­ing. That same day I ended up on the com­mit­tee and four months later be­came pres­i­dent and still am to this day.

Mandy was busy rush­ing around get­ting the pa­per­work ready for the com­mit­tee meet­ing so we didn’t get much time to chat. I had never vol­un­teered be­fore so it was a whole new world for me and in the be­gin­ning I was in awe of Mandy and her knowl­edge.

Mandy and I have a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship. The Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre has eight staff, 45 vol­un­teers and a man­age­ment com­mit­tee of eight, so there is plenty to do. Mandy and I work re­ally well to­gether and are very sup­port­ive of each other. It is very re­ward­ing when you help peo­ple out and you see a smile on their face that wasn’t there when they first came into the cen­tre.

Mandy has a pas­sion and com­mit­ment to the ser­vice and her fel­low work­ers, is hon­est, re­li­able and she has a great sense of hu­mour; she sky­larks around and is fun to work with.

Fund­ing is our biggest night­mare - we are here to help the com­mu­nity and some­times we re­ally strug­gle due to lack of funds.

She is a driv­ing force in her ser­vice to the com­mu­nity. Mandy is so knowl­edge­able in all ar­eas of the depart­ment with her so­cial work skills and her ded­i­ca­tion to work­ing with peo­ple of all ages and back­grounds, es­pe­cially amongst the in­dige­nous com­mu­nity.

She ini­ti­ated the Re­store Cam­paign to re­store coun­selling and per­sonal sup­port back into our ser­vice agree­ment which had been re­moved by the State Govern­ment. Mandy is a very car­ing per­son. Last Novem­ber when I was silly enough to fall over and break my arm I had to spend eight weeks con­fined to bed. Mandy or­gan­ised home vis­its from my doc­tor and home care on a daily

Her team came last at our an­nual golf day ... I guess golf is not one of her

points.” strong

ba­sis, which was a great help to me. Mandy is also very com­pet­i­tive and she does not like los­ing so when her team came last at our an­nual golf day she was not at all im­pressed ... I guess golf is not one of her strong points.

At the Girls Night In, Mandy, Tanya Mor­ris, Jen­nifer Hill and Pa­tri­cia Duf­fin per­formed the ABBA song Mamma Mia on stage and Mandy, as Frieda, took over the whole show and hogged the mi­cro­phone sing­ing up a storm in front of 40 ladies. It was hi­lar­i­ous.

I think Mandy and I will be friends whether we are in­volved in the Neigh­bour­hood Cen­tre or not.

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