True Stories

True Stories: Helena Young – My story

When I started at university my first career of choice had been dietetics and I always wanted to work in a hospital setting. I had been told that for dietetics, I would have to major in chemHelena-Young_editedistry for my B Sc degree. I had to choose one more subject in first year and the subject coordinator at the desk on my first day at university suggested Psychology 1, which I knew nothing about. However he convinced me with the simple statement, “Psychology 1 is going to be very useful to you”.

In the first year of BSc, I met lots of students from all sorts of backgrounds and it was a stimulating learning environment. I made friends with a group of young women who were all aiming towards Occupational Therapy (OT) as a career. It sounded like an interesting profession and I “hung out” with the OT group most of the time.

True Stories: Harkeet Sandhu – A helping hand!

When I finished high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. There wasn’t a specific job or career that stood out to me.

So I chose a degree that I found interesting and figured that everything else would fall into place. I did a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. I was fascinated by the human mind and how people interact. I thought that a psychology degree would offer me many skills and open up many doors for me. It did.Harkeet Sandhu

The first door the degree opened for me was the door to the rest of the world. After uni I went to South Africa to volunteer. I spent three months at Horizon Farm Trust doing a variety of things including conservation work, building and developing recreational activities for people at risk of being recruited into gang cultures such as people with mental health problems.

It was an exciting, rewarding adventure. And I wanted more of it.

True Stories: Helen Walker – Multi-skilling was a prerequisite when I entered the sector!

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I oversee the service and systems management of my organisation, including financial management, staff supervision and support. I also coordinate service funding and policy development, reporting to the Board of Management and liaison with the community and our funding bodies.

I entered the community sector as a volunteer. I had just moved to a totally new area and had three young sons, two with disabilities. I desperately needed an outlet and contact within the local community.

I started as a meals on wheels driver and then worked as an office receptionist at the local neighbourhood centre, before being employed as the ‘pay person’ at the centre.

True Stories: Gerry Foo – A family affair!

I’ve had experiences working in disability services on and off for a number of years and I keep coming back to it. I’m very drawn to the sector as I feel it is important to recognise individuals and give them a voice. It’s also a family affair as my husband also works in the sector and my children have had direct contact with it through volunteering. One of my daughters is also considering the sector as a career path.

For me, it all started when I graduated from high school and worked as a Teacher’s Aide at a special needs school in Singapore, where my aunty was the principal. After that experience I studied law and pracGerry-Foo_editedtised for a year. I then ran a series of businesses and migrated to Australia in 2004.

I got into the disability sector in Australia through volunteering at Sunshine 5 years ago, where I now work as the Fundraising and Community Engagement Manager. My initial volunteering role involved helping out with Sunshine’s annual art exhibition and then a position came up in their Community Access Program, working with clients who had high support needs.

True Stories: Gail White – A rewarding career!

An interest and a love of the involvement with disabilities made my decision very easy to make the change to new horizons. The awarding challenges of day to day involvement and being able to help and assist clients is one of the most gratifying experiences I have ever been involved in.

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I especially love the way that you are never judged and are taken as you are and for the person that you are. I could never put into words just how great it is to be so welcoming and so easily accepted by the clients that I come into contact with.