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From Little Things Big Things Grow

Kim has been a Cootharinga North Queensland customer since early 2009 and very quickly became a well known customer throughout the staff due to his bright personality, being cheeky and a smile that can brighten anyone’s day. A few years later, Kim would move into a supported independent shared house with three other housemates, Paul, Michael and Nathan. They all got on since day one and unsurprisingly, they all became best friends. ‘The best thing about living with the boys is the comradery around the place when all four of us are home. Paul, Michael and Nathan will be my mates for life,’ said Kim.

Growing up, Kim enjoyed going to the ocean that was right at his doorstep at the Caravan park he lived in with his parents, who were the owners, and, his two brothers. His sense of adventure and fun has followed him through the years. Kim was one of the original employees at the Endeavour Foundation, where he built wooden crates ‘amongst other things,’. Now in retirement, Kim loves to spend time with his Mum, visit the goose pond, attend social events such as Cootharinga’s ‘Friendship Group’, completing his puzzle books, and like many of us, enjoys the serenity that comes with gardening, in particular, watering the plants.

One of Cootharinga North Queensland’s support workers, Michael, knew how much Kim enjoyed working in the garden and an idea was planted.

Michael has been working with Cootharinga since early 2019. After having a career in plumbing and gas work, Michael was unsure of what career was next on the horizon. With a few different pathways on his radar, Michael was offered an opportunity to work with Cootharinga and jumped at the chance ‘The disability sector would be a chance to help people achieve their goals and encourage them to always have a go.’ Michael has loved every day since starting his role as a support worker as he can ‘Come home from work knowing I helped someone.’

Working with Kim and his house mates, Michael is enjoying ‘the variety of personalities all four boys bring to the house. The charisma, cheekiness, determination, confidence and will power of them all makes it easy to bring my best to the house’. Michael had recently been down to Slade Point Community Gardens with another customer, volunteering their time to assist in garden maintenance. Michael and the customer enjoyed their time volunteering so much, when Michael found out the community garden were looking for more volunteers, Kim came to mind as the perfect volunteer.

‘An enjoyable part of coming down [to the Community Garden] is the local people, such as Pam [Main garden maintenance volunteer] along with local artists that have given their time to contribute in designing pieces to help create the garden. It’s nice to be able to come down and help keep this part of Slade Point looking good. You have the skate park and a bowls club either side, all ages come down and are able to enjoy the surroundings,’ said Michael.
‘I am very excited to be able to go down to the gardens and help. I have already made plans to make it a regular occurrence. I love getting out into the community and being able to do something I really enjoy that helps contribute to Slade Point Gardens looking nice. I enjoy being able to sit back at the end of the job and see what I have achieved,’ said Kim.

With Kim growing one of his passions at the gardens, he loves the variety of plants he gets to tend too outside of his own garden. ‘Everything from veggies, fruit trees, herbs to Australian natives in a small area, everywhere you look, there is something different.’ ‘Watering makes me feel happy, it’s very peaceful and it makes me feel good that I can contribute. It’s nice to work in a team and with the ocean just there, it’s a nice spot to work.’

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