Reaching Out and Changing Lives
Inspired by Edmund Rice, our vision is to enable people to feel included, be active participants and make a positive contribution to society.
We seek to empower the people whose lives we touch through education and development of community, with a special focus on youth leadership.
The following values inspire and guide all we do:
We welcome, respect and value each person regardless of colour, race, creed or ability and foster harmonious relations between cultural groups.
We acknowledge the dignity of each person by acting with compassion, respect and sensitivity, thus fostering a sense of self-worth.
We create a safe place for all who engage with us.
We enable social change through individual empowerment and community development.
The Edmund Rice Centre WA has a proud history and an on-going commitment to assisting people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Established in 1998 to provide essential settlement services and community education activities in the northern suburbs of Perth, the Centres’ services have expanded more widely throughout the metropolitan area with a particular emphasis on young people and youth leadership as a way of ensuring a positive future for all.
The Edmund Rice Centre WA is recognised as one of Australia’s leading service providers by community groups, government and other agencies in the field.
The Centre was founded by director, Stephen Bowman over twenty years ago. He saw a great need for more education-based services for people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Centre has developed an excellent reputation for offering “grass roots” services that consistently help address unmet needs in the community. The current General Manager is Amy Berson, an internationally experienced program manager in the development sector. Amy has worked in a range of areas including development through sport, child rights, youth leadership, education, disability, health and gender.
Each year the Centre interacts with around 3,000 people of all ages and backgrounds. It provides programs in English, computer studies, life skills for living, driver education, specialist housing assistance, settlement assistance, a women’s group and very popular youth sports and youth leadership training programmes, alongside leisure and cultural programmes.
60 students a day come to the Centre to participate in the Language for Living programme alone. 300 young people each month participate in programmes that include AFL, basketball, soccer, art classes and a highly successful local parks programme that encourages children to come and “have a go” at different activities. The program also transitions young people to mainstream sporting clubs through the assistance of the Kidsport initiative.
“We welcome, respect and value each person regardless of colour, race, creed or ability and we aim to enable social change and learning,” says Stephen Bowman. “We have a warm and vibrant community where staff, volunteers and those with whom we connect always feel encouraged and welcome”.
The Edmund Rice Centre WA is an independent incorporated organisation that is overseen by a board of management with strict governance and financial management. It currently employs a senior management team of three, 10 programme co-ordinators, 17 part-time staff and over 40 active volunteers, many of whom have worked with the Centre for a long period of time.
Former senior executive of Rio Tinto with extensive experience in community initiatives within Australia and overseas including Board positions on numerous Industry Organisations, Foundations & Funds.
Background in engineering and project management and recent 10 years chairing a successful start-up bespoke engineering business. Has extensive experience as Chair and NED of numerous ASX listed companies including a number of IPO’s.
Extensive past experience coaching youth and young adults in athletics, to national & international level.
Active golfer and Past President (6 years) of Western Australia Golf Club & former Board Member of GolfWA (5 years).
Richard is a recently retired school teacher. He is married with three adult children.
Richard worked with the WA Education Department at Dumbleyung DHS, Hollywood SHS, Newman SHS and Warnbro CHS. In 1987, Richard completed a Teaching Exchange year in Cornwall, England.
In 1997, Richard transferred from the State Educational System to Catholic Education where he remained until his retirement. He spent more than 20 years at Chisholm College, as Head of Mathematics and a Deputy Principal.
Kevin has been on the Board of the Edmund Rice Centre WA since September 2003 as the treasurer and governance director.
As an actuary, Kevin has been involved in the actuarial field and the finance industry generally for over 50 years. He has worked for several different organisations in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and the United Kingdom. His last position before his retirement in 2015 was at Curtin University, where he was an Associate Professor in charge of the Actuarial Science Degree program.
Kevin has been involved with several Not for Profit organisations and sporting clubs and is currently a Director of his 2 family companies. He is an active member of the Australian Shareholders Association and company monitor.
An internationally experienced program manager in the development sector, Amy has worked in a range of areas including development through sport, child rights, youth leadership, education, disability, health and gender.
She has managed a variety of community development initiatives with government and non-government partners, domestically in the Mirrabooka/Balga area and internationally in Uganda, Bangladesh, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and the Caribbean region. Amy is highly experienced in leading teams of culturally diverse staff and volunteers.
She has an Honours degree in Science (Human Movement) and a Masters of Human Rights Practice and is a strong advocate of refugee rights.
Rosemary’s career is founded in writing and communications and includes diverse experience in general management in Australia and Asia over many years. She worked in senior positions at Wesfarmers Limited and Lion Nathan in Australia and in Asia pacific regional management roles at international bank, Standard Chartered and international communications consultancy, Golin Harris.
Previously Rosemary has served on the board of Princess Margaret Hospital and King Edward Memorial Hospital. She served six years on the board of writingWA, two as chairperson, and was a founding director of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival.
Rosemary has written three non-fiction books and is currently completing a PhD at Curtin University which explores her dual interests in writing and human rights.
Jim’s background is in education, having had a long career in Catholic Secondary schools across the state.
During this time, he has had 30 years of administrative experience in the roles of Principal & Deputy Principal.
This has given him extensive experience in policy formulation & budgeting.
Jim has been a Board member & former chairperson of Edmund Rice Centre over many years and wishes to continue this association now that he has retired from full time work.
Vivian came to Australia in 1988 after teaching in India for sixteen years. He spent all his working life in Australia teaching at Chisholm Catholic. At various times, he was a Department Head, a Director of Learning Technologies and concluded his career as a Deputy Principal.
While at Chisholm, Vivian developed his interest and expertise in computers writing a number of spreadsheet programmes. These helped make working life easier for administrators, teachers and teachers-aides and are still in use.
Having retired at the end of 2018, Vivian spends his time as a board member at ERCWA, volunteering at the WA Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office and occasionally going back to the classroom as a relief teacher.
In 2018, the Centre welcomed Ron Alexander as its patron. As a former Director General in the Western Australian government, Ron has combined his passion for sport and education to forge a successful career both professionally and in a voluntary capacity.
His journey crosses many disciplines including professional sport, sport management, coaching and community service. He was recently named Western Australian of the year in sports.