Volunteering boosted Tahlia’s confidence

By Dinethra Nandakoban, 14 January 2019 , Comments

Tahlia has been a Northcott customer for many years, accessing our Ballina Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy services in conjunction with In-home and Community Supports, to develop her strength, skills and independence. But it was when she started volunteering a few years ago that Tahlia gained a real boost to her confidence.

While attending our Everyday Life Skills program in Ballina five days a week, Tahlia developed skills tailored to her interests in cooking and gardening. This led her to put her cooking skills to use as a volunteer at a local school canteen, supported by a Northcott support worker.

Soon, however, Tahlia was leveraging her work at the school canteen to advance her skills to be able to volunteer on her own. She now regularly volunteers on Tuesday mornings at Bunnings and Friday mornings at LIFECare24 Food From Life.

Tahlia’s mother Renae credits her daughter’s success in volunteering to the wonderful Northcott support workers who have been supportive over the years and who have made the skills development process a positive experience, not just for Tahlia but for herself too.

“All the Northcott services Tahlia has been accessing have been collaborating to provide Tahlia with quality services that are tailored to her,” says Renae. “The flexibility of these services has allowed it all to transition smoothly and we are extremely thankful for the support she has received.”

At Bunnings Tahlia’s work involves rotating potted plants, unloading and restocking plants on shelves and setting up new plant displays. Now requiring very little direction, it is a job Tahlia takes pride in and looks forward to every week. “My favourite plants at Bunnings are the pink ones,” she says.

Tahlia’s Northcott support worker, Laura Ryan, says learning professional skills has also impacted Tahlia personally. Working as a volunteer has given her confidence and independence, enabling her to now volunteer with minimal supervision from her support worker. The continuity of volunteering every week, while building consistent relationships, has really helped.

“Tahlia’s confidence has visibly improved over her time volunteering at Bunnings,” says Laura. “She holds her head high and walks straight in. She has really grown in independence.”

At LIFECare24 Food From Life, Tahlia volunteers every Friday morning making coffee. Her confidence has grown so much she works her volunteer shift without her support worker present. “A support worker will pick her up, but otherwise she’s on her own,” says Laura proudly.

Tahlia agrees that volunteering has been a wonderful experience for her. “What I like best about volunteering is it makes you feel good,” she says.

We wish Tahlia every success in her professional and personal journey.

Related Content

Learn more about how Northcott’s Everyday Life Skills training can help you find volunteer work.

Find out how our In-home and Community Supports service supports children and adults with disability.

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