For 25 years, Kate Janetzki enjoyed her career in the travel industry.
When COVID-19 hit and the travel industry was turned upside down, her employer was forced to close the office.
After a few temporary jobs, Kate came across an opportunity to join Uniting in Wimmera as the co-ordinator of a program called Strengthening Parent Support.
Kate now runs groups for parents and carers of children living with a disability or additional needs.
The group provides respite for parents and carers, along with the opportunity to connect with people in a similar situation.
It wasn’t an intentional career change, but Kate couldn’t be happier with her new role.
“I absolutely love it. It is really the best thing that has ever happened to me,” says Kate.
“The thing I love the most is making a difference.
“Often (the parents and carers) are shy or a bit resistant to coming along for the first time.
“But I encourage them, and when they join in, watching them meet other people and the connections they make is amazing.
“I recently took a group of parents away for a respite weekend.
“Many of them had never met before but by the Saturday night they were sitting at dinner crying with laughter.
“One of the mums told me they have since implemented the tips they learned over that weekend, and it has changed their life and made it so much better.
“It’s moments like these that make my role so very rewarding.”
Kate says she is well supported in her role.
“The leadership team is amazing, and everyone is so welcoming,” she says.
“They care about your wellbeing. It’s a really nice place to work.”
Kate has recently turned down offers to return to the travel industry.
“I just couldn’t. I love my job and I wouldn’t give it up,” she says.
“To people who might be considering taking a role at Uniting, I would encourage them to do it.
“Pre-COVID I would never have considered changing my role, but it has really opened my eyes and been so positive.”