An Oasis in the heart of the city

Erena and Scottie Lagas at their 9th Avenue home. Photo: Chris Callinan.

It takes special people to run the Oasis home on 9th Ave.

Husband-and-wife duo Erena and Scottie Lagas have lived and worked at Oasis for nearly two years, and Erena says it’s been a wonderful experience.

“Scottie and I are house parents here, so we are live-in and we oversee the running of the house, we create a homely and fun atmosphere for the children, we’re basically like aunty and uncle really,” says Erena.

Oasis is a respite care home run by the Open Home Foundation organisation, and is open for children with intellectual or physical disabilities such as children with autism.

The couple work together to create a calm and fun atmosphere for children, while their families are able to receive a respite break.

“During the weekdays after-school we try to keep it kind of chilled. We keep it as much of a home environment as possible; it’s not a facility as such, it’s a homely environment to relax or engage in an activity with us like art, puzzles or building Lego.

“Outdoors at Oasis House there is a basketball hoop, sandpit and trampoline. And then there are the outings to the skate park, playground, and our bushwalks; there’s so much to do,” says Erena.

“It really is just supplying a place of rest and fun activities for them while their family has a break.”

The Johnson family, who have used Oasis in the past, say the house has been a great service for their family.

“Oasis provides a fun, safe, ‘home away from home’ experience with carers that are engaged and feel like an extension of our family.”

Erena, Scottie and their eight-year-old son Noah live in the house 24/7 and Erena says the job is a bit different to your average nine-to-five workday.

Oasis has their open day this weekend, and Erena encourages everyone interested to come along.

“I think that if any parent thinks they and their child would benefit from this, they’re welcome to come and have a look and see what this place is like, and what we are about here at Oasis House.”