A journey of life full of challenges

Let’s go back to the beginning …

I’m a natural born leader.  It was at school, when I realised I enjoyed supporting other young people, whether it be in sports, or with their homework. Whatever was needed I put my energy into others around me with the aim of reducing the pressure and stress of school and life.

A chance meeting with an amazing young woman, heavily involved with fundraising paved the way for me to carry the baton and by the age of 19 I had cast my sights on the national Crossing Borders Camp for young Deaf Australians.

As a two-time leader of the camp I can honestly attest to the amazing experience it brings.  Although I represented New South Wales, state borders were merely labels in these bi-annual gatherings, where young people inherit leadership skills from veteran leaders.

Suddenly the world stage beckoned.  My successful submission to accompany two young people to the Junior Camp of the World Federation of the Deaf Youth Section came in 2013.  The event left a profound impact on my psyche and I was hooked!  Meeting so many new people, using an array of different languages and experiencing a multitude of new cultures gave me the drive to inject changes to my home environment.

Luckily I wasn’t the only one who had mountains to climb.  Joining forces with other similar minds made possible the founding of Deaf Youth Australia where I have served as a committee member, secretary and president until December 2018.

Having moved on from DYA I proudly reflect on the support we gave to young Deaf people through fundraising, arranging events and being a beacon of hope to which they can aspire.

Then ...

Bigger mountains were on my horizon.  The following assembly for the Youth Section of the WFD was scheduled for 2015 in Turkey.  I nominated and was invited to join the board.  The view from this mountain is awesome!  So many incredible people encompassing a broad and diverse range of skills and talents.

Working across many time zones our cohesive team strives to improve the recognition of human rights in relation to access and education for young Deaf people.  Our work inspires me to maintain a constant focus and I can bring my passion for leadership into the fray in developing strong alliances amongst young people.

Sitting on the board gives me introspection.  I can develop my strengths and work through my weaknesses for the sole purpose of building better relationships with young Deaf people.  The opportunities for travel, to meet new people and immerse myself in new and different cultures are enriching and inspiring.  These are the ingredients of my personal growth for which I am truly grateful.

Now ...

The past 4 years has been a whirlwind of activity and experience.  I have now begun my second and final term on the board alongside many new and diverse faces.  Using my experience will help guide these newbies to explore and draw upon their broad skills and backgrounds, to bring out their best and contribute to the fabric of the movement, thus helping me to grow further.  This new phase offers me the chance to mentor and empower others on individual, local, national and international levels.  Of the many pursuits that get me up in the morning the one I’m most passionate about is human rights.  Turning the complicated into the tangible for young Deaf people is critical to always moving forward.  With 4 more years on the horizon there are many new projects, energy and ideas driving me on.

To read stories of my WFDYS journey thus far, click here…

Read more stories of my WFDYS journey