Using personal experience and passion to power others’ dreams

By Natalia Carozzi, 31 July 2020 , Comments

Matt Rees is a Support Worker at Northcott Everyday Life Skills in Coffs Harbour, and he also provides In Home & Community Supports for individual customers. He was born with spina bifida and has always been on the search for ways to use his personal experiences to support others.

Although he worked in restaurants and cafes at a young age, Matt (pictured) always knew that his vocation was to provide service to and advocate for people with disability; he is passionate about empowering people with disability to lead a great life, supporting them to be the best they can be.

Matt has furthered his career in the disability sector through both education and work experience. He started as a casual Support Worker at Northcott three years ago, and is now part of the Everyday Life Skills team. Last year, Matt obtained a Certificate IV in Disability Support, which has allowed him to strengthen his support capabilities.

“I love being a role model for the customers that I work with and sharing my own experiences with those around me,” Matt explained. “I love being able to go to work and make a difference in someone’s life, whether it is small or big, and support them with a person-centred and strengths based approach to allow them to achieve their goals and aspirations. It is amazing to be able to bring smiles to a person’s life and to see them listen, learn, create and achieve amazing things.

“As someone who lives with a disability, I bring many different life experiences to the table. One of the huge things for me is acting as an advocate and a voice for those who I work with. It is vital for me to ensure that I empower people with disabilities to live life to the fullest through a variety of avenues. I love seeing the customers I work with receiving the right services and supports, to ensure that they are given the opportunity to blossom in society and show the world what they are capable of.”

Matt has also been able to bring his own unique experiences to the workplace, integrating them into the different programs and activities. “Within the Everyday Life Skills program, I have run several groups such as the cooking group and men’s group,” he said.

“At the men’s group in particular, I have used my own life experiences as examples. Growing up with a disability, going through school, finding work, studying, and other topics such as bullying, inclusion, hygiene and relationships have been some of the subjects I could contribute to this group from my own experience.

“With many customers, I have used these experiences as examples to help them find their own ability to achieve their goals and aspirations and to ensure they have a place in society and they are living life to the fullest and achieving their potential.”

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