Creating lifelong friendships
Friendship and connection are an integral part of everyday life. For Amanda Stone, who has been accessing Achieve Australia’s disability employment and accommodation services for more than 15 years, it’s clear to see the close bonds she keeps.
“I like seeing my old friends, it’s amazing,” smiles Amanda as she greets a friend who passes by in the lunch room. “We went to school together, I like my friends so much.”
Working four days a week at AchievAble Enterprises, Achieve Australia’s disability employment enterprise, provides Amanda with a stable job routine, support and a social environment to thrive in.
“I love working here a lot because of the people. I feel happy because I’m comfortable,” says Amanda. “My favourite thing to pack is the biscuits!”
Leanne Larche, AchievAble Enterprises’ Operations Manager, says Amanda is a delight to have in the team. “Amanda is really kind and caring to everyone. She is close with staff and has great friends in her life,” says Leanne.
“Annie, who is one of her close friends at work, has a walker and Amanda is always there to lend a hand to help her get around more easily or to make Annie a cup of tea,” says Leanne.
Over the years Amanda has also been developing her job skills and works on many different projects. “Amanda has a go at everything, she has a lot of patience and really takes the time to learn new things,” says Leanne.
Through employment, we can also help create more inclusive workplaces and communities for the people we support. “Coming to work to contribute, connect with friends and being a part of what we do here is really important for our employees,” explains Leanne. “For Amanda, being part of this social environment gives her more confidence in herself too.”
Family plays a big role in Amanda’s life too and she shares a close bond with her mum, Pam Stone. The pair get together every week on Amanda’s day off.
“Amanda loves work and it’s good for her,” says Pam. “She gets to earn money, it’s close to home and it makes Amanda happy because she has a lot of good friends at work,” says Pam.
Pam herself has also been involved with Achieve Australia for many years. “I was a volunteer at The Sewing Basket for about 17 years from when it first started,” recalls Pam. “It’s a cause that’s close to my heart because of Amanda and I had a lot of good times there and many good friendships.”
At home, Amanda lives in a quiet location in Parramatta and receives supports to help maintain her independence with cooking, daily chores and shopping. “I’m independent and I feel better living here than where I was before, it feels safe,” says Amanda. “Staff help me with the cooking, I watch them and help out too.”
In her spare time, Amanda enjoys going bushwalking and now goes to aqua aerobics every Sunday. By keeping active and enjoying a well-connected life, Amanda can explore even more opportunities in future with the right supports in place.