A lot of guys my age might say they love their bed – maybe cause they like to lie around in it, playing computer games or watching TV. Me, I love my bed because I can get myself up and out of it. When I got this bed with its electronic controls it changed my life. It gave me so much more independence.
It was the same idea when I first came to GDA – I couldn’t believe it: ‘transport and personal assistance provided? for free!’ At school I didn’t have the personal support I needed. I’d spend all day worrying about how and when I was going to be able to go to the loo. There was a lack of communication and understanding from the school of my condition as disabled person, knowledge about my disabllity, and my rights as a disabled person This made it a lot harder to concentrate on my work. Also I thought because I disabled I had to accept the way things where at that time.
This continued to be the case in further education but I knew that something had to change so I began chasing my dream and not just going through the education system for the sake of it. I took a risk in changing my career path I chose to go down the football coaching pathway. I did this with a trimendous amount of courage and risk as I had no support at all apart my family and other close people as result of this I now have 8 SFA Coaching badges.
During this time I was also looking for people who understand me, my disability, the support I need, the rights I have and give me all of this without asking about my disability. Then I heard about the GDA!
At GDA courses and events, I know the support is there, and I know the venue is going to be accessible, so I can focus on learning, developing my skills and furthering my career.
GDA helped me find volunteering opportunities, and gave me the confidence to set up my own Wheelchair football club. Through the Activate course Now I am the Player Representative for my club I’ve got a job as a youth worker, and GDA helped me get the support I need to give it my all. I got connected to so many opportunities through GDA, now I’m organising learning for the young people I work with.
After going to different short courses, and progressing with my job hunt, I joined GDA’s Drivers for Change – because I want to help make a difference for other disabled people as well as myself.
I want to do everything I can to make sure disabled people are on the map, on the agenda, and can achieve whatever we want to in our lives.
Have you had a positive volunteering experience that has improved your mental health? Do you want to share your story?
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