Windermere holiday care program: a place for every child

“Just knowing that there are organisations like Windermere willing to go the extra mile so our daughter can attend their program and be in safe hands, means a whole lot.”

When 10-year-old Eliza was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a few years ago, her parents Bryce and Tracy wasted no time in learning all the intricacies of diabetes management. It’s been a steep learning curve for Eliza as well who has taken the lifelong challenge on board. On a daily basis, she stays mindful of her food intake, monitors her blood glucose and has learnt to self-administer insulin injections to manage her levels.

Despite this challenge in her young life Eliza is just like any other girl her age who enjoys school and making friends. When it came time for school term holidays, she was eager to attend a holiday care program.

Unfortunately, Bryce and Tracy were met with the challenge of finding a suitable program for Eliza. While her school had in place the training and awareness on managing type 1 diabetes, the holiday care programs they approached did not.

As an employee of Monash Health, Tracy was well-placed to organise training for staff and educators. Coordinating and seeing the training through, however, proved to be challenging. At that point it seemed that Eliza may have to miss out on all the fun and activities of a holiday program. That was until they reached out to not for profit Windermere who were offering a school holiday care program at St John The Baptist Primary School. 

 “Windermere opened their arms to taking up the training that Monash Children’s Hospital offered. We were able to coordinate that with the facilitators and educators without hassle and have in place training and awareness on type 1 diabetes to ensure Eliza’s wellbeing and safety,” says Bryce.

The online training for staff covered the various aspects of diabetes management including the use of insulin and understanding the supplies that Eliza uses throughout the day.

Tracy was also able to attend an onsite meeting with Windermere staff to emphasise a key aspect of diabetes management: administering insulin injections. During the meeting, Windermere staff engaged in a simulation to gain a feel of injecting, using an empty syringe and an orange.

“Diabetes management requires around the clock monitoring. You need to be on top of it, or else Eliza would be at risk. Just knowing that there are organisations like Windermere willing to go the extra mile so our daughter can attend their program and be in safe hands, means a whole lot,” says Bryce.

Over a period of two weeks, Eliza joined children from other schools to engage in a range of fun and interactive activities during the program. The highlights for Eliza were learning tie-dye and making new friends.

“The holiday program was very well structured. Eliza found it physically and mentally stimulating. She loves making friends and enjoyed the interactions with children from different schools as well,” adds Bryce.

As parents to a young child who is becoming more aware of the challenges of diabetes, Bryce and Tracy feel strongly that Eliza should have access to the same opportunities as any other child. This sentiment is what motivated their desire to find the right holiday program for Eliza.

“She still wants to feel part of everyday life and activities and we don’t want her to feel left out. We really appreciate that Windermere understood this as well and made it possible for her to attend the program,” says Bryce.

Following the success of the Summer program, Eliza signed up for all the days and activities of the Winter Holiday Program as well.  

To learn more about Windermere’s Out of School Hours Care call 1300 946 337 or visit here.