From Dungog to Oregon USA, sharing ideas on the power of community

Last month the Dungog Shire Community Centre Youth Services Horse Tales program was selected as the lead case study for the Hunter, New England and Central Coast mid-term review of 'Living Well', conducted by the Mental Health Commission NSW. It was selected as an outstanding example of innovative practise in caring for and supporting young people and their families. It is a credit to Lisa, our youth worker, and her dedication and creativity in working with young people and helping the identify their capacity to meet their challenges.

Last week, on the Dungog Shire Community Centre's Facebook page we posted an article about the range of Centerlink services that are offered to the community through our Centerlink Agency and our wonderful Centerlink agent Nina Williams. The feedback was, as expected, overwhelming. So many people commented about how supportive, kind and helpful Nina is every day in the way she supports, assists and guides individuals and families through the often confusing, bureaucratic and mechanical system that is Centerlink. This is a credit to Nina and her passion and commitment to supporting our community and caring for everyone who walks in the door of the centre.

Today I write this article from Portland, Oregon USA where I have been invited to talk at the inaugural Emergency Media and Public Affair conference. I have been asked to share the Dungog experience and share our learnings about the power of community and the need for government agencies to connect with and build upon community capacity in times of disaster. Being asked to share our community's experience in 2015 and how our community came together to create support, connection and care for all by leveraging our own community skills, strengths and knowledge demonstrates, yet again to me, how extraordinary our community is and how our lessons of strength and resourcefulness are transferable to other communities. These three examples speak clearly to the amazing depth and breath of skill, knowledge and capacity there is within the Dungog Shire Community Centre team and the wider community, which we serve and support. All of us within the team at Dungog Shire Community Centre are endlessly in awe of our community, its creativity, commitment and collaboration and we all feel incredibly lucky to be able to go to work each day to support and connect with a community we love and live.