Tales from Two: Will and Anno
Life after school can be hard. When Northcott Ballina customer Will (pictured left) noticed his best friend Anno didn't seem happy, it made sense to invite him along to Northcott's Everyday Life Skills program. Both now attend the program four days a week, participating in the group sessions, spending time together with a support worker and accessing one-on-one time with a support worker. With a friendship built on mutual respect, gaming, YouTube videos and laughter, they always bring out the best in each other.
Will: I first met Anno back in Year 6 in 2010. I started at a new school. It took me a long time to fit in. I met Anno who was in a wheelchair then. It took about a year before I started interacting with him. I asked Anno to come to Northcott because he wasn’t happy where he was and I wanted him to be happy.
At first I thought he was a grumpy bum. He was very strong-minded and fearless. When times were tough he would just get up and he was always smiling. I was drawn to that. He inspired me. At school we would hang out and he would just sit and listen to me. As years went by, we got more friendly and became close. We became stronger and I looked out for Anno.
These days we like to watch movies and play video games together. He comes to my house sometimes and we watch funny cat and dog videos on YouTube. I try to bring him out of his shell. A lot of people don’t really understand what he is saying but I do.
At Northcott in the Life Skills Group, we do cooking on Mondays and we sit and have a laugh and joke about ourselves. We go to the gym and work out. Seeing Anno work out is really inspirational.
We have grown into best friends. We see each other quite often. We are happy to hang out and we don’t get into fights.
I like it when Anno smiles and laughs about things. The enjoyable part is when he’s happy because it’s contagious. He’s very positive and he doesn’t let his ability affect him. I see him as a strong person that can overcome anything.
I'd like other people to know that Anno's a very friendly guy, very caring and not a nasty person. He is very nice and very welcoming. With Anno, don’t judge a book by its cover - talk to him and get to know him as he has a big heart.
Anno brings joy to my life as I bring joy to his. We’ve had a long friendship spanning 10 years. It’s crazy I’ve found a best friend, because I find it hard to get out of my shell sometimes too and he helps with that too.
Anno: I met Will at school. When I met him I thought he seemed like a happy person as he was always smiling.
Will is a good person. He is a happy person who is always looking after others. I often say “Thanks Dad” to him as he is always making sure we are all okay. Will loves to chat and I have to tell him to "Shhh!" J
At Northcott we go driving around. We go to ten pin bowling, to the movies and to the gym. We have even planned a trip to Movie World this month.
Outside of Northcott, Will and I hang out at home playing games. We meet up for dinner and drinks on the weekends. One of the most memorable things we've done together is going out to a party and having a few drinks.
Will is like my brother. He has become a part of my family. We don’t necessarily have the same interests but we can chat about everything.
I think everyone should know that Will is easy to get along with and a good friend to have. Will is a good mate!
[Editor’s note: When we asked Will and Anno to approve this story, our staff member in Ballina reported back that Will got emotional hearing all the nice things Anno had to say…now that’s a special friendship!]