Cara's Recognition of Excellence Awards

Cara Celebrates its best and brightest

Awards general image

More than 300 people gathered at the Convention Centre for the announcement of the winners of Cara’s first-annual Recognition of Excellence Awards.

Click here to watch a video of the awards

Known as Cara Celebrates, the gala dinner was hosted by The Advertiser’s Business Editor Cameron England and attended by VIPs including Cara’s Chief Patron, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia, The Honourable Kelly Vincent MLC of the Dignity for Disability party, Cara’s Board of Directors and members of Cara’s Consumer Reference Council (CRC).

Award winners embodied Cara’s promise – we find possible – and our values: that we are personal, we are careful, we discover and create and we are persistent. Congratulations to all of the winners who received a Jam Factory-designed trophy, a cash prize and money allocated to training or attending a conference.

The Safety AwardSafety Award

Sponsored by Cara’s Executive Team and presented by Chief Executive Liz Cohen

Won by Leah Buckley (presented to Emily Head on Leah’s behalf).

Leah has been a valuable addition to each of the services that she has worked across. Leah was employed by Cara to work as a Home and Community Support employee, working in customers’ homes. Leah also works as a support worker in both the Mount Barker and Thebarton Kids Club Program and also as a support worker at the Laver Street Respite service.

In each of the above work environments, Leah has made it her priority to fully understand the service specific procedures and work tasks and requirements to ensure that she performs to the best of her ability. Leah has completed her Certificate IV in disability through Cara's traineeship program and she never fails to apply her learning to ensure that work practices are being safely followed and applied by all members of the staff team.

Leah's attention to detail and awareness of safe work practices across all domains of her job (including medication administration, health support, behaviour support, environmental factors and documentation) has resulted in numerous service improvements that have ensured that Cara delivers services that meet industry standards and reflect best practice.


The Quality AwardQuality Award

Sponsored by Les Brazier Special Vehicles and presented by Peter Greig

Won by Rajesh Ramkumar

Raj has been working with Cara client Barry Smith for approximately eight years. Raj goes above and beyond his job role to ensure Barry lives a person-centred, fulfilling and active life. Examples of this are during the summer months Raj & Barry can often be found down at Outer Harbor (in Raj's own time) fishing or crabbing between 4-5 in the morning and can often be there up to four hours, then Raj will support Barry in returning to his apartment and complete his rostered support shift with Barry. This is on top of what they had already done for that morning.

On Christmas Day and other special religious or public holidays Barry is always invited to the Ramkumar household to spend the day with Raj and his family as Barry doesn't have family of his own, Raj and Barry consider each other to be family and they have a bond like no other I have seen in my whole community service career, the trust and faith Barry has in Raj is amazing to see everyday. Raj is a massive support in Barry's photography business, Raj is often supporting Barry at major events such as the Christmas Pageant.

Raj is always there and makes it happen for Barry. An example of this was during Barry's recent hospital stay, physios were trying to encourage Barry to start moving to maintain his strength and Barry was very resistant to this. Barry explained what was going on to Raj and Raj discovered that some of the equipment the hospital physios were using was stuff Barry hadn't used before so Raj used his initiative and approached the physios and encouraged the hospital staff to discuss and include Barry in planning of his physio which led to Barry fully engaged in his physio and enjoying it, with Raj by his side for every session even if he wasn't rostered to work with Barry.

Raj is a diamond in the rough! I don't think I'll ever meet someone as dedicated as he is to his support role with Barry. Raj makes everything happen for Barry, Raj finds possible!


The Volunteer AwardVolunteer Award

Sponsored by Cowell Clarke Commercial Lawyers and presented by Susan Comerford

Won by Dorothy “Nanna Dot” Farnsworth

Dorothy, or Nanna Dot as the camp family love to call her, has done so much for the camp program within the last year.

She has demonstrated a serious commitment to the camp program by preparing all meal, creating recipes, being in charge of all the kitchen stock and going over and above in her duties on and outside of camp. Dorothy is a fantastic role model to all other volunteers, staff and campers by being well mannered, supportive, honest, organised, respectful and extremely caring in her role.

The camps program is extremely grateful of her contributions and believe her efforts should not go unnoticed within the Cara community. Dorothy is a highly valuable asset and the campers absolutely love having her around. Cara has benefitted in so many ways by having this amazing volunteer.


The Healthy Team AwardHealthy Team Award

Sponsored by The Good Guys Mile End and presented by Lawrence Ubaldi

Won by the Leaker Avenue Team

Leaker Avenue team is a healthy team in that we all have a very happy relationship with one another where we respect each other and take the time to not only share our roles supporting our clients but make effort to support each other as well.

The team is comfortable in the work environment which starts at team leader level and feeds down to the team. No person in the team takes any colleague for granted and we each give unconditional respect for one another.

Our team endeavours to maintain a harmonious and healthy workplace. How do we know that this is truly reflected? Our clients are happy and content and are equally pleased with whoever come on shift to support them.

I also cheated and asked a client with help with their view on this topic, of which the client responded without any hesitation ‘you all look after me really well and I just love you all’.


The Nita Curtis Scholarship
for a Flinders University post-graduate studentNita Curtis Scholarship

Sponsored by Cara’s Board of Directors and presented by Dr David Rawnsley

Won by Jessica Bennett













The Training & Development AwardThe Training & Development Award

Sponsored by Cara’s Board of Directors and presented by Dr David Rawnsley

Won by Alison Vivian

Alison upported the development of an individual and team at the Langman service via developing short training session and presenting them at meetings. She has been encouraging the individual with learning life skills to ensure smooth transition to adulthood including - budget planning, social expectations, engaging in venturers to increase friendship circles.

Alison developed plans to support the individual to go from regular suspension at school to just one detention this year, supported the team and the Accommodation Service Managers to provide consistent support via development of protocols, strategies and mentoring and established with a team supports for childhood trauma.




The Innovation AwardThe Innovation Award

Sponsored by Edmen Community Staffing Solutions and presented by Dylllan Fleming

Won by Tyson Smith

Highly Commended - Sharen Hebberman

Tyson has used imaginative ways to combine technology in our training and board rooms with the use of Chromecast and Microsoft wireless display adapters to make it possible for phones, tablets and laptops to use the displays/projectors. The challenge here was overcoming the variety of connectors and proprietary limitations to ensure most devices can connect for presentation and demonstration purposes.

Another example is at the new Murray bridge service, getting them connected via Mobile Data as a temporary solution. To make it as simple as possible for the staff onsite he combined a variety of IT equipment in a combination to connect the onsite computer to our network seamlessly to the staff onsite, rather than relying on some manual processes to get them connected. To achieve this Tyson used his knowledge of various technologies and our network to enable them to all talk to each other properly.


The Outstanding Team AwardThe Outstanding Team Award

Sponsored by Pro Paint’n Panel & Rightway Automotive and presented by Kon Skothos & Rino Compare

Won by the Weroona Avenue Team

Weroona Avenue service has evolved into an amazing respite service for children The staff have given their energy and imagination to developing new services for the NDIS. We have added a new discovery room and in it they have created a sensory and interactive area where the kids can have so much fun. All the staff have been involved and they have been very creative.

At Christmas we had two Families SA children stay over unexpectedly and the staff member set a Christmas experience which would be hard to forget! She put magic Santa foot prints that can from back door, left food out for reindeers put the tree up and completely decorated the house into a Christmas wonderland.

The staff communicates well as a team, covering extra shifts and they have set the bar high as far as care for the children so when we get new staff it all filters down.

We have recently had great feedback from a parent and it was so touching to hear her story of how Weroona has made her daughter’s life so much better. And it has to be said they do find possible by working together.


The Edna Redman Service Excellence AwardThe Edna Redman Award for Excellence

Sponsored by Cara’s Board of Directors and presented by Duncan Redman, son of the late Edna Redman.

Won by Tim Anderson

Working in Home and Community Support includes taking people out in the community regularly. Tim started taking a person he supports swimming every week. This person had rarely gone swimming and Tim saw the visual communication response from the person when he took them swimming and saw the other ways it could benefit the person and started a regular routine.

Tim takes multiple clients each week on outings to various places. He empowers the people he supports to make decisions, have lots of choices and provides opportunities for them. One person in particular that Tim supports he assists them in living independently in many different ways

Tim is a very honest person he treats everyone with the same high level of respect and shows a lot of compassion and patience day to day. He has a great rapport with families and has received great feedback from many of them.



The Leadership AwardThe Leadership Award

Sponsored by Careerlink and presented by Angela Giacoumis

Won by Glenn Stanton

Glenn is very consumer-focused and has this way of explaining or sharing his visions for consumers and where he sees them in the future. Glenn always gives positive examples of the achievements we have made so far. Glenn motivates staff to be solution-focused and always keep the end goal in mind even if at the time it’s out of sight.

Staff have learned from Glenn just by observing how he communicates and manages difficult situations he always does it in a calm, person-centred way.







The Team Leader AwardThe Team Leader Award

Sponsored by Cara’s Board of Directors and presented by Cara Chief Patron, His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC, Governor of South Australia

Won by Kirstie Schumacher

Highly Commended - Kristy Hogsden

Kirstie follows and role models Cara and service protocols and inspires her team to do the same Is passionate about person centred practices and insists on and leads staff to embed this as a way of working, not a task to be done. She promotes citizenship in the people she supports which includes understanding and accessing their rights but also understanding and supporting the responsibilities that come with these rights Kirstie is passionate about using a therapeutic model of support but also seeking out new and updated strategies and knowledge to use therapeutically and as trauma informed practice. Kirstie is always reading podcasting, networking in order to find better opportunities for individuals to build and experience better lives. A common phrase of Kirstie's to individuals she supports is "I’m not giving up on you" especially when they find themselves struggling with emotional or addiction difficulty and she certainly doesn’t! Kirstie goes the extra mile to respect and engage families and culture and to lead in a way that her staff do the same.      

The awards would not be possible without the support from our generous sponsors. Please support the organisations that support Cara.

Cara Celebrates Award Sponsors 2016

Event Sponsor

Edmen Community Staffing Solutions

Award Sponsors


Cowell Clarke Commercial Lawyers

The Good Guys Mile End

Les Brazier Special Vehicles

Pro Paint'n Panel & Rightway Automotive

Gold sponsors

Redman Media



WFS & NGA Human Resources

Silver sponsors

The Advertiser

Adelaide Convention Centre

Redman Wines

The Jam Factory


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