During her internship at Regional Early Education and Development (REED), reducing obstacles to ensure Wheatbelt families could access high quality childcare services, quickly became a personal mission for Madelene Booth.
The University of Western Australia Biomedical Science student completed her 100-hour McCusker Centre for Citizenship internship at REED in January 2020, and has just been named one of the joint recipients of the McCusker Centre for Citizenship’s Outstanding Intern Award. Ms Booth and fellow award intern, Joseph Ross, who completed his internship at Anglicare WA were named joint 2020 recipients.
The Honourable Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Director and Chairman of The McCusker Charitable Foundation and former WA Governor, and fellow Director His Honour Judge Denis Reynolds, presented Ms Booth and Mr Ross with the award at a presentation event on October 14, 2020.
The Belmont resident Ms Booth, whose farmer father grew up in the small Wheatbelt town of Cadoux, said she felt a great affinity with REED.
REED works closely with local shires and community organisations to ensure the best quality early childhood education and care services are provided for rural children, families and communities.
One of the projects undertaken by Ms Booth was to research the Australian Government’s Child Care Subsidy and prepare a document outlining the barriers that Indigenous and rural families faced in applying for the subsidy through Centrelink.
During her internship, Ms Booth also explored the idea of commissioning Indigenous artists to paint murals and lead art classes community centres throughout the Wheatbelt region.
In addition to designing posters and booklets to educate regional families on the benefits of childcare, she also contacted agricultural suppliers and convinced them to donate farm machinery toys to the centres.
“The benefits of childcare centres in regional towns can be underestimated and disregarded. I identified an opportunity for family engagement by introducing farm machinery toys and replicas into the centres, enabling families to see how their child spending time in childcare would still enable the crucial interaction with agriculture that encourages children to pursue farming as they grow,” she explained.
REED Chairperson Helen Creed said from her very first contact, Madelene impressed with her communication, energy and professionalism. She came to the internship with a very keen desire to learn and to contribute.
Ms Creed believes wholeheartedly that Madelene deserved to be presented as an Outstanding Intern of the Year recipient, as the breadth and depth of Madelene’s contribution to REED were exceptional.
“Madelene’s positive, enthusiastic approach to every one of the diverse range of tasks she tackled, her speed, rigour and accuracy, as well as her creativity and mature insights identified her as ‘special’,” Ms Creed said.
“Her commitment and work ethic were exemplary.
“A key learning for Madelene was that it is possible to make a difference - that through her efforts, she could really have an impact. Madelene’s ideas are now informing the design for future projects,” Ms Creed concludes.
The McCusker Centre for Citizenship established the Outstanding Intern of the Year Award in 2019. It is a bi-annual award open to all student interns who are nominated by their organisation for making an exceptional contribution during their internship.
Over the past four years more than 1,200 students have undertaken their internship with the McCusker Centre for Citizenship contributing more than 120,000 hours in service to the community.