Alana Holmes adores children. With ten nieces and nephews, she is often surrounded by little ones and has a natural knack for communicating with them. Prior to being an Educarer with Zest Care, Alana spent four years as a pre-school teacher and has also completed a Diploma in Child Services and Disability Support. The role of an Educarer – which involves being a key support to children in need – is a perfect fit for Alana’s skillset and personality.
There’s no ‘typical’ day as an Educarer for Zest Care. Their role is to support at-risk children on a case-by-case basis, responding to the child’s unique needs as the situation dictates. Usually the Educarer works in the child’s home, although Alana’s most recent assignment has been supporting a little girl of six who has been resident at a local children’s hospital.
Alana loves her job, as “seeing a smile on a child’s face and knowing you’re the reason for it is one of the best feelings in the world. Supporting children in need is incredibly rewarding. Creating educational activities for them and helping them grow.”
Working with small children can of course come with challenges. All children can be stubborn; sick children can become frustrated and be confused about the circumstances in which they find themselves, so a tender hand is needed to guide them. Alana gets up at 4.30am to be at the hospital by 6.30am and always makes sure she walks in with a smile on her face.
A strong bond can be forged between the Educarer and child – Alana missed her own nephew’s birthday party so that she could be with her charge at the hospital. As she said:
“I will see my nephew grow up but I won’t have that opportunity with this particular child after my assignment has finished. So I wanted to be there for her.”
“I have been working with this particular little girl for several weeks now, she is one amazing, strong little girl who inspires me to come to work daily. She always manages to put a smile on my face; she is a very inspiring and intelligent little girl who I will miss dearly.”
Alana’s advice to anyone thinking of becoming an Educarer is that you need to have a strong heart and a strong personality to do the job.
“However, knowing that you are making a difference is huge. Whatever is happening in your own life, you need to leave it at the door. Bringing a positive spirit into the child’s life is everything. Seeing a smile on a child’s face melts my heart.”