Helping youngsters find the courage to face adversity and stand their ground firmly in order to achieve their best lives, Geraldine Moran, CEO of Centre For Hope, is steering the organization in the right direction.
Climbing the ladder to success
Geraldine was not completely happy in her first professional career as a lawyer. She always wanted to help people and create a positive impact. So, she moved out of law to pursue psychology. She completed her Master of Analytical Psychology from the University of Western Sydney.
However, life does not always follow your plan, as Geraldine experienced herself when she was diagnosed with cancer. She decided to stop working and focused on her health. During this time, she was introduced to life coaching and was fascinated with the domain. With life coaching, she found the power to create change and have a positive impact on the lives of others.
She felt that this was the missing piece in her life. The last push was an incident involving a young girl which Geraldine witnessed while recovering from cancer. She says, “I saw a little toddler being kicked to the ground. As she got up, she was kicked down again. My husband wouldn’t stop the car as he didn’t want me to get injured. I never forgot that little girl. I kept asking what I could do to help her or someone like her.”
As soon as she recovered from cancer, Geraldine founded Centre For Hope with the support of her husband, friends, and colleagues. Over the past 10 years, she has continued to fuel the growth of the organization with her determination to help others.
Her hard work is highlighted by the accolades she received as she progressed. In 2016 she was awarded Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year, Hunter Hero, and Rydon Youth Sector Worker. In 2020, she was awarded Hunter Region Volunteer of the Year, The Centre For Volunteering.
Overcoming initial challenges
The giant roadblock that Centre For Hope initially faced was getting people to understand the main essence of coaching and gaining a school’s trust to enable Centre For Hope to work with their students. With excellent support from her coaching colleagues and the BNI (Business Network International) chapter, Geraldine kept asking until at least one school agreed. She and Centre For Hope then volunteered tirelessly without any funding.
Adding weight to the voice of young disadvantaged people
Centre For Hope is all about empowering disadvantaged young people to respect themselves, connect to the wider community, and create an inspired life.
Geraldine says, “We ensure that all our volunteers and workers are trained to listen and engage with young people wherever they are. We listen with open hearts and minds and make no judgment on the issues, the needs, the lifestyles of the young people. We try to implement their ideas and create an environment where we work for them and include them in decision-making for the sessions and engagement they have with Centre For Hope. We provide them with tools to see their self-worth, their uniqueness that the world would miss if they weren’t in it and participating.”
The team runs various coaching programs that ensure young people learn resilience, appreciate their time with others, recognize their goals for life, and relate to others more easily.
They also have two drop-in centers where young people are able to seek support and enjoy fun activities. Geraldine says, “We run a bike recycling program where a young person can recondition a bike and take it home. We have a homework centre and support our First Nation People and share their knowledge about culture in our country. We work in schools on a weekly basis and deliver coaching to young people from 6-18. We also run corporate and business programs so we can reinvest those monies into supporting programs for young people. We also provide regular deliveries of food and hygiene items to the families of young people. We run a playgroup twice a week to support parents. We have a social enterprise coffee cart and a T-shirt printing business for the community.”
Geraldine continues, “Centre For Hope’s growth is directly proportional to the number of young people we are able to support in a week. We have delivered more than 3000 coaching sessions and supported thousands of young people in this way. Our drop-in centers have supported the community and countless families and young people, and we are trusted by those people we serve. In all this growth from 15 young people in our first school to thousands of young people, we have never forgotten who we serve. Our growth has still allowed us to stay true to our values. The more young people we can help, the greater support we offer to help our world.”
Geraldine’s Contribution in Centre for Hope’s Growth
Geraldine is confident that the Centre for Hope has the capacity and specific programs to make a difference in the lives of countless young people and ensure that they can contribute to the world in their best way. She strives hard to make Centre for Hope a pioneer in supporting young people on a higher level.
As well as supporting young people on the path to attaining their best possible lives, Geraldine is also currently working on writing and publishing several books.
She says, “I am motivated to leave a legacy beyond my lifetime. Each young person who starts to believe in themselves and treats themselves with respect is a part of that legacy.” Centre For Hope also assists its volunteers to remain dedicated and keep the team motivated and challenged.
Geraldine is inspired by the successes of the young people who Centre For Hope supports, and often by their unsolicited positive feedback. One such young person once told her, “You saved my life. Centre for Hope was exactly what I needed at the time. Thank you.” This sense of gratitude is Geraldine’s ultimate fulfillment in her role as Centre For Hope CEO.
For her, the Centre For Hope is like her extended family. She is excited about all the great opportunities that enable her to help more young people. Geraldine strives to do everything in her power to help them develop to their full potential.
Charting the Future Roadmap
Geraldine says, “For me, sustainability of the organization is my number one goal. From this flows the opportunity to support more and more young people, families and in turn create a better and stronger world for future generations.”
She doesn’t want to leave anyone behind. Considering everyone equal with the right to go beyond the limits is what she really desires for her daughter and future generations.
She feels her work is gradually becoming more recognized and embraced by schools and other government agencies who have realized that wellbeing is essential to achieving the best academic outcomes. Mindfulness is being added to the curriculum, and schools are looking to learn more about Centre For Hope’s work. This has also paved the way for more strategic alliances and grants.
The disruption of COVID-19 taught Geraldine and Centre For Hope many valuable lessons over the past 12 months. Geraldine explains, “One thing it has done is make us look at how we can do things differently, how we can reach more young people and transcend the boundaries of countries. Placing our work on a technological platform and reaching young people in virtual drop-ins around the world is our next goal.”
The COVID pandemic helped Centre For Hope establish new plans and strategies that will advance their programs and support services to the next level. Centre For Hope is in the process of moving into the digital space and ultimately aims to supplement their online programs with avatar coaches and holograms, using technology to provide support for young people at any time of the day or night, anywhere in the world.