Fifty years ago, at the age of 11 years, MercyCare Accounts Officer Rhonda Harding was among the first students at Warriapendi Primary School.
Surrounding suburbs such as Mirrabooka did not exist, instead, the suburb of Balga, where Rhonda and her family had moved to from the country town of Koorda, was mostly bushland.
Rhonda was back at Warriapendi Primary School last week to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary and say ‘hi’ to fellow MercyCare team members based on the school site.
MercyCare’s Warriapendi Child and Parent Centre opened six years ago at the school.
The centre is designed to connect families to the community they live in and the support services available to them.
“Growing up, I did a lot of babysitting, there were lots of flats in the area and lots of single mums who often needed an extra set of hands,” Rhonda said.
“There was nothing around to help parents back then, so it is great that local families have the child and parent centre,” Rhonda said.
The Child and Parent Centre has become part of the school community over the years so staff were keen to help with the school’s 50th celebrations where they could, according to Warriapendi Child and Parent Centre Coordinator Kirsty Maroney.
“We’re embed here in the community and work really closely with the school,” she said.
The support services provided to families with young children assist them to be school ready.
“More than half of the kindy children at the school had contact with our centre before they started the school year,” Ms Maroney said.
Warriapendi Child and Parent Centre usually holds a fun-day throughout the year but this year the trio who staff the centre decided to join forces with the primary school by supporting its milestone celebrations.
As well as providing the sausages for the P&C’s fundraising sausage sizzle, the centre funded entertainment at the event in the form of African drumming group Akwaaba and a cuddly-animal-farm.
The three staff members, Julie Jones, Jacqueline Morgan and Kirsty Maroney were also kept busy on the day, helping out with a badge making stall, assisting people with parking and anywhere else they were able to lend a hand.