Yooralla in the community – sharing stories of diversity, courage and resilience

DATE: 19 December 2017

Yooralla in the community – sharing stories of diversity, courage and resilience

Two Yooralla customers, Clarke and Peter speak to a cohort of year 8 students at St Bernards College in Essendon.

Two Yooralla customers Clarke Bourizk and Peter Johnstone recently spoke to a group of Year 8 students at St Bernard's College in Essendon, sharing their own experiences of living with disability.

St Bernard's College Year 8 Coordinator, Nik Brudenell coordinated the event to educate the students about accepting disability and the idea of diversity, courage and resilience.

"Seeing and hearing people like Peter and Clarke really demystifies disability. The disability tends to disappear and the students see the individual personality far more clearly," says Mr Brudenell.

Clarke and Peter shared their experiences of disability with a captivated group of students, inspiring them by sharing their stories of resilience, courage and diversity through their personal experiences.

Peter spoke to the boys about the resilience needed while growing up with a disability and being integrated into a mainstream school, as well as the day-to-day care that he requires while living at one of Yooralla's accommodation services.  

Clarke spoke of his desire to not let his disability get in the way of life, inspiring the boys with his tale of beating the odds to go sky-diving earlier in the year and "showing everyone that said he was crazy, that he can be free."

The NDIS has empowered customers to set their own goals, just like Clarke's skydiving dream and to work towards achieving them by selecting individually tailored services and supports.  

Clarke transitioned to the NDIS in early 2017 and has attended Yooralla's Fawkner Community Hub for the last seven years, accessing learning, recreation and social activities contributing to a sense of wellbeing and independence.

Peter will be transitioning to the NDIS soon and is looking forward to having the control over his supports and continuing to be an active member of Yooralla.

Currently, Peter is a member of the Community Partnership Advisory Committee, working to increase customer and community participation across all areas of Yooralla. 

Yooralla Speaktank provides the opportunity for people with disability to play an active role in educating the community and changing the perception of disability - one story at a time.

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