My Story: Tammy Robinson
Tammy Robinson has been a Carinity Home Care Lifestyle Carer for two years, although she has worked in aged care for most of her life.
From volunteering in the local aged care community at the age of 12, to now supporting clients in their own homes, Tammy calls this work her true life purpose.
However, in 2019 Tammy found a second passion that she pursues outside of work – volunteering to help disadvantaged teenagers attend their school formals.
“I heard about programs in other cities that collected formal gowns and suits for students whose families were struggling financially and decided I wanted to help,” Tammy said.
“However, I soon realised it didn’t make a lot of sense to send these garments away when there was so much need locally in my area of Logan.
“My son Kaleb was in grade 12 at the time so I knew what an important event the school formal was in the lives of young people and I didn’t want anyone to miss out.
“He encouraged me to start my own program helping the kids in Logan. I was hesitant at first but put a call out on my Facebook page asking my friends and family for donations, and it just blew up with everyone sharing my posts. From day one, the community support has been amazing.
“I was so excited when my first student walked through the door to look through the dresses I had collected, and within two and a half months I’d dressed 236 students! That sealed it for me – Formally Ever After was born and I haven’t looked back.”
She’s lost count of how many dresses, suits and accessories are in her collection, saying they take up the entire downstairs level of her home.
Tammy said it makes her heart happy to see all the students and families find their perfect outfit so they can attend their formals feeling confident, amazing and equal. This is something she didn’t get to experience herself as a young person.
“I didn’t go to my school formal because we grew up poor and I always felt and looked different. By year 12 I was over feeling like I wasn’t enough so I skipped the formal and started working,” she said.
“I think my earlier life in women’s shelters and housing commission, surrounded by domestic violence, really helps me relate to a lot of the people who come to get support as I understand what it’s like to not have enough.
“I believe what I’m doing is important because it shows our young people that kindness is free. It empowers them and lets them see that the whole community cares about them.
“I have to say also that Formally Ever After has saved my life. There was a period where I lost three brilliant women who meant so much to me within six weeks of each other – my good friend, adopted mum and grandmother.
“When they passed, I was going through so much grief and wanted to stay on the floor crying but I found myself getting up and seeing the students.
“I realised that through giving, my heart healed a little; it gave me purpose and helped me get back to loving life.”
While Formally Ever After occupies much of Tammy’s time, she has no plans to quit her day job.
“I absolutely love working in aged care as I get to hang out with really amazing humans every day who have led such wonderful lives,” she said.
“It’s an honour to help our clients stay in their homes and continue to live the life they want with a little bit of support from us.”
“I feel so lucky I get to pursue my life purpose through both work and volunteering, as they are equally important.”