I’ve told my story a lot throughout my life. When I was young my parents separated and there was a fair bit of tragedy throughout my childhood. I went to a Steiner school but didn’t finish year 12. My family and I had always been interested in Aboriginal affairs and when I finished school I had the opportunity to travel around Australia for 3 months with my mum and brother, and meet with lots of Aboriginal people. More recently I studied Aboriginal Studies at Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney.
After our family trip I didn’t know what to do next. I knew I wanted to do something meaningful and I’d always loved children when I was growing up. I started with a small organisation called Warrah which was focused on community living and seeing people as individuals, rather than focusing on their disability. It was a new thing in the sector at the time.
After a little while I was just about to leave the organisation when two music therapists arrived from the UK to work with the organisation. I was so inspired by them that I decided to stay on for a little while longer. After that job I ended up doing some kindergarten teaching and also studied in the UK. Throughout my career I’ve been back and forth between working with children and working with people with disability.
I now live in a small rural town just outside of Port Macquarie and I’m very involved with my local community – it gives me a wonderful sense of belonging.
I’ve been working casually at an accommodation support service in Kempsey on a permanent part basis for 7 years, on a one to one basis with clients with disability.
About a year ago I decided I needed a bit of a change and I knew that ACES in Port Macquarie had a good reputation. I really wanted to work somewhere that aligned with my values and that was also closer to home! I walked into ACES one day and enquired. I gave them my resume and started a few weeks later. I also still work at the Kempsey service too.
Initially I buddied up with other staff at ACES. I loved the place straight away, their ethics and what they stood for. ACES has a good reputation in the community and you can tell they really care. One of the staff members I was buddying up with took a service user to a ceramic class each week and when she was asked to do something else during that shift I ended up taking the person to the classes.
When there was an organisational change in the programs at ACES, a lot more centre based activities were created and I became more involved with that side of things. I was then asked to coordinate a music and drama group at the centre as I have a background in drama. I really love music too and the power of it. It’s encouraging that management at ACES are interested in letting me pursue my interests through work.
The service users at ACES, who participate in the music and drama group, have high support needs and there are around 8-10 involved each week. It’s challenging at times, particularly physically, but as my best friend once said to me “It’s in my core.”
Along with my work I have many other interests. I sing in the Bella Bago Choir and I’m a volunteer on the local Wauchope Arts Council. I’m also the Vice President of the Wauchope Community College Committee and I’m involved with the Bago Magic Performance Group.
Every Friday the Bago Magic group gets together and qualified tutors conduct performance based classes with us. The group is made up of about 40 people, and the majority of these people have disabilities. Every year we put on a performance and in each weekly class we work towards that performance. I’m completing a Healing Touch course too and as part of that I volunteer at Wauchope Hospital one morning a week.
Volunteer – Community Worker
- TRUE STORIES: Joseph Majambere – Supporting people from all backgrounds to become who they wish to be.