A life coloured in
It only took one idea to spark a colourful journey.
Inspired by the children she cares for in her part-time job at a local childcare centre, Suzanne and her colleagues began to dream of writing their own children’s book.
With this glint of an idea, Suzanne picked it up and ran with it. In one day, the title and book contents sprung forth. And within just a few days, the concept, ideas and story were born.
“I have always been creative and loved to dream up stories. So, when an opportunity at work presented itself to produce a children’s book, I jumped at it,” Suzanne shares.
Guided by the children’s interests and conversations about local beaches and the environment, together they began experimenting with different art mediums, textures and resources for collage works. Across six months, the children’s artworks for Suzanne’s book, Ten Little Pippies, came alive.
“The children were involved in every aspect of illustrating the book,” Suzanne explains. “This was a really wonderful creative project involving much time and effort from many children with their drawings, paintings and mark making by the little ones.
“It was a great collaboration and just a wonderful thing to be able to do with the children,” she continues. “They had a ball. They had so much fun doing it.”
A single mother to three children at home and two adult children living out of home, this artist and educator has faced her fair share of battles.
“2020 was a challenging year for me personally. Being a single parent, it’s really important to me to be able to earn a decent income. However, while challenging, this year was also full of opportunity, growth and realising my potential,” Suzanne says.
While juggling parenting duties, work and study, it wasn’t until Suzanne met Trish from Wesley ParentsNext that she found the right support to help her go from strength to strength. Having already completed her Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, Suzanne desired to expand her horizons.
“I was proud of what I had already achieved at TAFE but I had dreams of something bigger and wanted to push my career further.”
Through Trish’s guidance, Suzanne established new career goals. While working part-time, Wesley ParentsNext supported Suzanne to study a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care and purchased clothes and shoes for Suzanne to wear at work.
Turning dreams into reality
As the book began to develop, Suzanne turned to Trish for guidance to help bring it to life.
“Together we managed to find a local graphic designer to undertake the project with us and after much conversation, creative thought and collaboration, we turned that dream into a reality,” Suzanne explains.
“Twelve months from the beginning of the initial concept, we now have our very own hard-cover children’s book and it looks fantastic.”
For Suzanne, publishing a book was something she only ever dreamed of. And she feels honored to have created this book with the children she cares for. Suzanne says she’ll be forever thankful to Trish and the support of Wesley Mission to achieve these career goals.
“It’s really given me a lot of confidence in knowing that I’m on the right path. And knowing that I’ve got someone there that’s just been so supportive, so I can push forward and achieve my goals.
“I wouldn’t have been able to produce the end result without that help. So, it’s just been fantastic. I would like to thank everyone at Wesley Mission for your continued support.”
Trish adds, “The big kick for me was supporting Suzanne with her dream and her vision. I built up a close rapport with Suzanne and just saw the humbleness and the gratitude that she had. I’ve seen how far her confidence and her belief has come. It’s been great to see Suzanne achieve those goals that she set.”
Looking towards the future
But even after achieving this incredible milestone, Suzanne doesn’t want to stop there.
“I am really loving the journey I am on and despite life’s challenges, I am continuing to push further in my career to reach future goals,” she says.
Trish adds, “She’s constantly wanting to build her skillset, so she can broaden her career opportunities.”
Suzanne hopes to continue her creative arts studies and fulfil her lifelong vision of opening a studio and gallery for children.
“It’s a place for children to come and actually experience a working studio, have freedom of expression and be able to come and create,” Suzanne explains.
Not only does Suzanne desire for this centre to be a space where children can expand their creativity, she believes it will help children build their self-confidence and support their overall wellbeing.
Whatever the future holds, Trish has no doubt that Suzanne will shoot and reach for the stars.
“She’s such a driven, motivated woman and mother. She never lets anything get to her but just pushes forward,” Trish says.
“That’s what’s given me so much satisfaction working with Suzanne. When I first started working with her, she didn’t really ask for anything. I’ve seen her go from where she was to realising life’s possibilities. And once she achieves a goal, she then asks for what’s next.”