Chris’ eloquence is admirable. He is confident, he loves sausage rolls, Maths, and he’s excellent with routines.
Chris is 19 years old. He went to a special school and was later linked to Substation33, YFS’ social enterprise, by his grandfather.
“When I first came in I didn’t talk to anybody. I didn’t like to talk. I’m good at talking now. I also go to YFS to play Darts,” he says.
Chris has been volunteering at Substation33, pulling apart electronic items, three days a week, for more than a year now. He’s also part of the YFS’ Social Links program.
When he started, he did not talk and focussed on disassembling one thing – keyboards.
However, life for Chris transformed when he began talking, making friends and even taking care of the business every week.
“On Mondays I run the table. If anything goes wrong they ask me. I’m the boss. I’ve got the shirt and the hat.”
Chris has greatly benefited from his volunteer work at Substation33. He is now able to focus on giving clear and correct answers based on his own knowledge, understanding and experience.
His boss has always encouraged him to take chances by talking to as many people as he could, to build his confidence and learn to communicate with others. He says his life has changed for the better and he feels just like any other 19 year old.
“It’s sausage roll day on Tuesdays. In the beginning, my friend had to go and get them for me. I go get them by myself now.
I catch the bus by myself on Wednesdays. I use my Go Card. Yesterday I rode my bike and went to Mc Donald’s, to K-Mart and got some scratchies too”, he says.
All these new developments have boosted Chris’ confidence and when new opportunities outside his comfort zone present themselves, he takes them on.
“I won a ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Disability Award. I was scared. Now I feel happy and proud. I keep the award in my room.
I like working in here. I have learnt a lot. I have learnt everything in here. It has changed my life. It gives me something to do. It’s something different for me; I don’t get bored.
In 10 years I would still want to be here at Substation33 and YFS”.