Book Week celebrations continued at CareSouth this week, with students in our Homework Hub reading books about diversity and inclusion to our Story Dog Buster.

Students shared stories about families, autism, gender diversity, disability and culture in a bid to broaden their understanding of the diverse world in which we live and to ensure they are inclusive of difference.

The books are part of resource packs put together by CareSouth’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The packs, which also include Lego, toys and activities, are located in the kitchens of all of CareSouth’s offices and staff are encouraged to use them in their day to day practice.

“Resources have been sourced based on the needs and backgrounds of our staff and those we provide services to,” said CareSouth CEO Liz Forsyth. “There is a focus on different backgrounds and cultures, disabilities and gender identity and expression. There are interactive resources along with books suitable for all ages of children, young people and adults.”

CareSouth’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee was established earlier this year to help staff understand the wide-ranging needs of the diverse communities in which we work.

Diversity and Inclusion Committee member and CareSouth’s Community Engagement manager, Sarah Mason said the group’s focus is to provide resources, training and support for the Aboriginal community, the queer community, the disability community and people whose English is a second language.

“Understanding and having contact with these diverse communities broadens our mind,” said Sarah. “When we are open to difference it makes us all better people and is the first step to social change.”

Reading books about difference, diversity and inclusion in the Homework Hub has allowed the young people we work with to start conversations and ask questions so they can not only understand different points of view but also understand where they fit within their communities.

“All of the children we care for come from a diverse background, it’s something to be celebrated,” said Sarah. “If we can start the conversation as early as possible, they’ll be more open to difference and see it as a positive, not something to be afraid of.”

“We really value diversity and inclusion and celebrating that is one of our core values,” agreed Liz.