Jewel’s Story

Jewel’s Story:

 

Blacktown resident Jewel is passionate about her involvement with Natalie, a young woman with intellectual disability. She has been a friend to Natalie for four years, after meeting her through Citizen Advocacy Western Sydney (CAWS, now Community Access Western Sydney). Her involvement, and that of the friends and family she has introduced Natalie to, has made Nicole feel wanted and included.

 

Jewel first became interested in an ongoing friendship with a person with intellectual disability after seeing an advertisement placed by CAWS in her local paper. “I wanted to make a difference for someone less fortunate than me but wondered if I had the qualifications to become an advocate”, Jewel says. “I picked up the phone twice and hung up before summoning the courage to call again.” On the third call Jewel spoke to the CAWS manager who gave her more information about the role and the organisation. After meeting with the Manager and finding out more about the ongoing support and training the CAWS office staff provide to the volunteer advocates, Jewel says, “I became convinced I could be an advocate.”

 

Four years later, her satisfaction and commitment to Natalie and to her work with CAWS has grown. “I am Natalie’s citizen advocate and that’s exactly where I want to be” says Jewel with pride. “I took on this role to help someone else but the joys I have received are tenfold. I have grown so much as a person; the responsibility has been good for me.” A call that almost didn’t happen because Jewel thought she was too ordinary to make a difference, led to a very positive and fulfilling experience for both Jewel and Natalie.

 

 

* names have been changed to protect people’s privacy