Talk about inspiration personified! Here is another incredible mum and grandmother – who just keeps on keeping on.
It gives me very great pleasure, to say nothing of pride, to introduce a woman who is all the above and more and also my friend of some years standing. Please meet aged care worker, Monica Perrett, mum to six and grandmum to one. A real battler. Monica says, she has always supported the underdog and fights for what she believes is right. And, believe me, I have watched her, albeit from afar, and she is all that she says she is.
Monica and her children have, to put it simply, been through hell and back. Her fourteen-year-old son ran away from home some years ago but, to his mother’s devastation, she discovered that the law is not on the side of the parent at all in such a situation. But rather than sit back and accept it, Monica declared war on the justice system. She tried to get the police commissioner to change the laws for runaway teens. Her children have also been bullying victims. She tried, unsuccessfully, to gain acknowledgement and thereby acceptance and help from the principals in question (yes, this is plural – Monica has had to move home in order to change schools) all to no avail. Apparently, her children were bullied because they were polite, quiet and refused to be part of a gang. Good kids in other words but, unfortunately, there are some kids around who simply will not accept that. It reached the stage where Monica’s kids actually refused to attend school, making up excuses, pleading sickness, etc. And time and time again, Monica did act, going to the school to sort it out, but it was put in the ‘too hard basket’ – eg nothing was done. Not a thing. Thus the reason her children were moved between several different schools.
And Monica has not tried to get just one law changed but two, and this second one has been successful. Tragically, she lost her foster child, Finn (yes, you read correctly). She is not only raising her own six children single handedly but she fosters others, too. “My foster son, Finn, passed away suddenly, but I was told, as a foster parent, I had NO rights now that he was dead, Monica says. So, what did she do? Again, rather than accept that, she campaigned with different ministers in SA to get Finn’s Law passed through parliament. And it looks like this has been successful as of 2015. In the tragic event of the death of a foster child, the new law will stipulate that the foster parents will be able to have a say in the funeral and arrangements. In short, Monica has done her best to ensure that Finn’s Law will be made a bill in parliament to help all foster parents.
Just as an added example of the sheer determination of this lady, she also caused the complete closure of one aged care residence where she worked due to the abuse of the elderly residents. Absolutely disgusted by this, she sought to have something done, and she succeeded. The facility was closed down completely.
But it hasn’t been all bad along the way. Monica has been nominated and also won several awards, including Barnardos Mother of the Year for SA in 2014, Pride of Australia Medal in the care and compassion area as a result of the work she did with Finn’s Law. She also won the award for Most Inspirational People in SA in 2014. While she has worked as a caretaker for the disabled for about twelve years, she is currently on a break, as she also has full custody of her thirteen-month-old granddaughter. However, when and if she does ever find a few spare moments for herself, she enjoys reading, listening to Michael Jackson or classical music. Her inspirations are simple: “People that I have met and become friends with that put GOD first and foremost – it’s not easy. People who have been through so much, face rock bottom but still get up and fight for what they believe in. People who put their family first, who are genuine and honest and want to make a difference.”
As for the future, this amazing mum wants to go into parliament! She wants to be a voice for children who don’t have a voice. And as she says: “I WILL make a difference in parliament. WHY? Because I actually care about the well being of ALL children.” Go, Monica!
A final word to share with the world: “Always believe in yourself, you can do anything. DON’T let people put you down. It only takes one person to change someone’s mind – a law, even parliament. Why not let that one person be YOU.”
Well said, Monica. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there should be more like Monica in this world.