Des­tined to make dif­fer­ence

Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment worker on help­ing oth­ers

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - LIFE | LOCAL LIFE - Jor­gia White jor­[email protected]­news.com.au

LIFE has al­ways been a mat­ter of tak­ing the road less trav­elled for Caloun­dra’s To­mas Passeggi.

And that is ex­actly the way he likes it.

Born and bred on the Sun­shine Coast, Mr Passeggi stud­ied here be­fore tak­ing up a post as the com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment co-or­di­na­tor at the Caloun­dra Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

It’s a role he says al­lows him to make a dif­fer­ence in some­one’s life ev­ery day.

This com­bined with his pres­i­dency of the Queens­land Fam­i­lies and Com­mu­ni­ties As­so­ci­a­tion show the value he places on help­ing oth­ers.

“My day of­ten in­volves deal­ing with peo­ple who might present to the cen­tre in cri­sis,” he said.

“The other part of the role are the de­vel­op­men­tal things look­ing at things that are hap­pen­ing around Caloun­dra and see­ing what we can do.

“At the mo­ment, I’ve been work­ing in the area of sui­cide pre­ven­tion and look­ing at ini­tia­tives or pro­grams that we can do at the lo­cal level to ad­dress this is­sue.”

Mr Passeggi de­scribes him­self as “for­tu­nate” to be able to par­tic­i­pate in these kinds of de­vel­op­men­tal pro­grams ev­ery day.

Af­ter years of vol­un­teer­ing in the re­gion within an or­gan­i­sa­tion for home­less youth, his role is all the more spe­cial.

❝We’re

try­ing to em­power peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and pro­vide train­ing for them.

— To­mas Passeggi

“This year we were able to part­ner with Life­line and the coun­cil to hold work­shops for the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“We’re try­ing to em­power peo­ple in the lo­cal com­mu­nity and pro­vide train­ing for them.”

He said in other or­gan­i­sa­tions, some­times a role can be tied to some­thing spe­cific where he has the op­por­tu­nity to fo­cus on any­thing he deems im­por­tant.

“Our Pets for Life pro­gram is some­thing that was de­vel­oped by a per­son in the com­mu­nity com­ing to us,” he said.

“She came to us as she was a vol­un­teer at the an­i­mal shel­ter and she was see­ing a lot of el­derly hav­ing to re­lin­quish their pets be­cause they couldn’t look af­ter them, which was caus­ing a lot of stress.

“We worked with her to launch this pro­gram, which has now re­ceived more than $300,000 of Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fund­ing.”

Mr Passeggi said the pro­gram worked so well it has now been repli­cated in other parts of Aus­tralia.

He hopes that as time pro­gresses he can re­main in Caloun­dra and con­tinue pi­o­neer­ing pro­grams such as Pets for Life.

“I work in Caloun­dra, I live in Caloun­dra and my kids go to school here,” he said.

“So I’m a big stake­holder in what happens in the com­mu­nity.

“I want to keep work­ing here to make the area a very live­able place.”

PHOTO: WAR­REN LYNAM

VERGE OF CHANGE: To­mas Passeggi of the Caloun­dra Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

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