Teyra Jasso is employed by Jesuit Social Services through the Working for Victoria initiative as a Project Officer. As part of our outreach work, Teyra’s focus has been on supporting one of our community partners, Africause, with their community engagement and wider organisational projects. Teyra has been able to gain invaluable experience, completing her degree and participating in work that is having a positive impact on people and communities, many of whom have faced huge challenges in 2020.
Before COVID-19 hit in early 2020, Teyra Jasso was working five days a week cooking at a café as well as completing the final stages of her Diploma in Community Services. She had been accepted by a community services organisation to complete her placement and was looking forward to graduating in June.
As COVID took hold, all this changed and Teyra’s world was turned upside down. Her hours at the café shrank from five days to one day, her placement (a requirement to complete her Diploma) was cancelled and her husband lost his IT job with a Marketing Agency.
When she and her husband heard about the Working for Victoria initiative, they immediately applied.
What followed has been a wonderfully positive story full of hope and possibility.
Originally from Mexico, Teyra was a teacher of Primary students, having studied educational psychology and completed a Masters in Education. In Australia, she has loved developing her interest in community services and has volunteered for the Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place in Croydon, as well as studying for her Diploma in Community Services.
She was thrilled when she was successful in gaining full-time employment through the Working for Victoria initiative, as this marked the first paid opportunity in her new field here in Australia. Her joy turned to absolute delight, however, when she was also told that she could use this employment with Africause as her placement, thereby allowing her to complete her Diploma.
“Not only did I gain employment at a time when I was so worried about my former job disappearing, but I could also once again plan on completing my degree,” says Teyra.
Two Jesuit Social Services staff were appointed as Teyra’s placement supervisors and Teyra has found the regular catch-ups with these supervisors to be incredibly enriching.
“There’s been lots of opportunity to reflect, which is so important for development. It’s been such a supportive environment”.
The work Teyra has been able to do with Africause has also been wonderfully positive and full of possibility.
She has worked supporting different programs including a Women’s Group, an employment program and a program supporting community members who cannot afford to pay fines to complete life skills courses.
In addition, she has worked to develop relationships with farming communities in rural Victoria who, due to COVID-19, are facing a critical shortage of workers to pick and pack fruit and vegetables over the warmer months. Teyra and her colleagues at Africause have arranged for 16 African Australian asylum seekers who do not have access to Centrelink, to relocate to Mildura and Gippsland to support farming communities over the coming months. The first group moved to Mildura over a month ago and the second group relocated to Gippsland a couple of weeks ago. They are helping to pack fruit and are loving the experience and receiving positive feedback from their new employers.
Thanks to the Working for Victoria initiative, Teyra recognises that she has been able to gain invaluable experience, complete her degree and participate in work that is having a positive impact on people and communities, many of whom have faced huge challenges in 2020.
And, added to this, her husband has also been employed thanks to the Working for Victoria initiative as a Digital Marketing officer for the Mitchell Shire Council.
For Teyra: “Working for Victoria has helped our whole family and we are so grateful.”