Community, and Connection: A Host Family Experience with Helen and Stacy

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Please meet Helen and Stacy!   A family that loves sports, community involvement, and making a difference.  

 They have five adult children, a grandson, and a passion for sports, coaching an Under 17’s rugby team!  

Helen was a teacher in Special Education and is skilled in educating people with disability. Stacy comes from a career in the Australian Army and has experience supporting youth with on-the-job support and school rugby programs. 

One day they both realised they not only had space in their home but also opportunities to share life experiences and educate the community and then choosing to share their home and lives as a Host Family with Interchange in April 2023. 

Since then, they’ve shared their home for short stays with four different people. 

 Being a Host is very rewarding once you have the right match. It’s rewarding for everyone; for the person we support, for us and even our family and friends. Others have asked us about becoming involved!  

They love working with an organisation like Interchange because it makes the host arrangements so much easier. Interchange identifies suitable people, facilitates the arrangements, and provides troubleshooting and support every step of the way. This allows Helen and Stacy to confidently meet the needs of the people they support. 

According to Helen, finding the right fit is crucial when it comes to Host arrangements.  

The person they support needs to be able to join in with their routines and lifestyle. They’re passionate about sports and enjoy sharing these interests with people who are keen to join in. 

Interchange has matched Helen and Stacy with a female customer who currently spends every second weekend with them. She enjoyed many enriching weekends at the rugby and gained experiences working in their food van, which has bolstered her confidence and skills. 

Helen is now helping the person she supports to hold a fairy floss stand to generate income. Together they’re discussing packaging, sizes, and pricing, and Helen is assisting her to make informed choices. 

They’ve also shared their lives with individuals who have helped with their Under 17’s team. This experience has been rewarding both for the person with a disability and the boys in the team who learn about belonging and the importance of inclusion.  

Being a host is both an opportunity to teach and learn. If this is something that appeals to you and you would love to investigate what it means to become a Host family, please follow this link 👉