This month we said goodbye to one of ATWC’s longest serving members of staff, Lorri Higgins. ATWC has been honoured to have had such a loving, kind, caring person who has not only touched the lives of many, but has made such a positive impact on the people she has supported. Lorri’s ATWC story began 43 years ago upon her return from England. She was looking for work in childcare and set off along Great South Road in search of a job. It was at St Marys where she was offered a position as a Day Care worker, commencing her ATWC career on the 15th June 1976. At this time there were 25 members of staff and Lorri earned $52 a week. The residential parenting programme ran out of the Villa building and the Jane Cowie building was the home of the Day Care.
Lorri worked her way up and eventually became the Day Care Centre Manager. The Day Care closed in 1990 and for the next 12 years, Lorri ran a mobile playgroup. Continuing to dedicate her time to children and their care, every week she would take toys and activities to different halls for mums and children, building relationships and memories that would last a lifetime. When ATWC’s preschool opened in 2003, Lorri took up the position of Preschool Teacher that she held for 2 years. It was when she decided that it was time for a career change did she discover where her true passion lay. In her new title as Support Worker at Granger Grove, she worked hard and for long hours. However, being able to support mothers and children and provide them with a sense of belonging and human worth made it all completely worthwhile. In 2011, Lorri continued to excel at ATWC, stepping into the role of Residential Supervisor at Granger Grove, the position she held until her retirement. Lorri has had such a positive impact during her time at the Grove that she still maintains contact with the mothers who have left the programme over the years.
There has been 5 CEOs come and go during Lorri’s time at ATWC, a multitude of restructures and a number of other changes and challenges that she has had to move with. However Lorri is extremely grateful for the constant friendship and support she has received from her remarkable work colleagues, especially her amazingly patient boss Katrina Berntsen. Lorri will leave with some wonderful memories and expresses her thanks for all the laughs and chats she has had with staff around the site. Lorri will be missed greatly and we wish her all the best for her retirement that she has well and truly earned.
The mums at Granger Grove also wanted to express their appreciation to Lorri for the impact she has had in their lives …
“Lorri you have given so much time and aroha to this life changing place. And your straightforward talk/thoughts/words/actions have always come from a place of kindness. You always saw the potential in us that had come through Granger Grove.”
“Lorri is one of many reasons to who I am today.”
“I’m going to miss you so much. I’ve never met a woman of your strength. Thank you for helping me with my family and myself.”