A Special Thanks

HELPING people is part of the job for Mercy Connect grounds coordinator, Geoff Bartel.

So it was a bit of a surprise when Kyle Sullivan arrived one morning with a gift of some tomato seedlings.

It was his way of saying thanks to Mr Bartel for the time he had spent out of hours helping Kyle.

“Kyle hadn’t been at the centre for a while so when I ran in to him in the street we sat down for a chat,’’ Mr Bartel said.

“At the time Kyle wasn’t really talking to anyone but we were able to spend an hour or so talking about some things that were worrying him.

“If someone has a problem I don’t hesitate to try and help – wherever I catch up with them.

“From that discussion Kyle decided to come back to the centre to be involved in the St Johns work crew,’’ Mr Bartel said.

Kyle has been a regular with the St Johns crew for the past two years where he enjoys catching up with his mates and learning new skills.

He has a vegetable garden at home and likes to get his hands dirty in the gardens at the centre as well.

That’s where the tomato seedlings were ultimately planted.

“It was a bit overwhelming I didn’t expect anything back,’’ Mr Bartel said.

“I like to see the men who take part in this program do well, that’s what makes me happy.

“My ultimate aim is to help them be independent and help them get out in to work.

“And for them it is reward for effort that they seek.’’

Kyle is one of the regular members of the work crew who have tackled many of the maintenance tasks on the Mercy Connect headquarters in Lavington.

Much of the gardening and renovation to the grounds have been undertaken by the work crew.

It’s the involvement in the work crew that keeps Kyle coming back.

“I like hanging out with Geoff and the other blokes,’’ he said.

“I enjoy mowing, doing the car wash and I am going to TAFE to study Certificate I in Work Education.’’

Mr Bartel said participants were encouraged to take part in a range of activities at the Lavington centre as well as providing services in the community.

“I love seeing the guys doing well and I love passing on skills,’’ he said.

“They have done a lot of work around the grounds here.

“And they have been very enthusiastic about getting Spongies, the car wash, going.’’