Michael was a socially isolated and under-confident young man of 17 when his mother Sarah first approached Ability Links for assistance. Although Michael wanted to get a job in his regional community, he had not attended school since age 12 and this made finding work very difficult for him.
Michael’s Ability Linker worked with Sarah and Michael to explore possible volunteer options to encourage more community participation and soon discovered that Michael was very self-conscious about his weight.
The Linker was able to draw the two things together by organising volunteer work for Michael at the local gym, which he now attends every Thursday and Friday. In recognition of his contribution the gym has given Michael a free gym membership which he uses after finishing his volunteer shifts.
For the gym things couldn’t have worked out better.
“When we are rushed for time and have a busy schedule, Michael covers our cleaning duties and the many little jobs we can’t get to,” gym manager Nigel says.
“Throughout Michael’s time with us we have seen his confidence grow. The very first time he came in he basically hid in the corner, whereas now he comes straight in, puts his bag down, finds an employee to discuss what needs doing or interacts with clients.”
Michael says he enjoys helping gym clients feel comfortable and is now able to work independently. “I love going to work at the gym,” he says.
His volunteer work and regular exercise regime has led to many positive changes in Michael’s life, both at home and out in the community. Michael says he feels much healthier, more confident and is now on the look-out for paid employment.
PHOTO: Michael (right) exercising with Nigel.
This post was written by northwestalliance