Chantelle Williams points affectionately to a tattoo of a rabbit on her arm. “It’s my pet rabbit, Blackie. He is a very old rabbit now,” she says. 11-year-old Blackie provides creative inspiration for Chantelle who enjoys drawing and creating artworks of rabbits, birds and Australian animals.
Sharing her love of animals and art is just one aspect of Chantelle’s life and, over the past two years, she has undergone a significant transformation. This transformation has seen Chantelle develop more self-confidence and find a new-found independence, providing more opportunities than ever before.
Working in a supportive team at AchievAble Enterprises, Achieve Australia’s disability employment enterprise, has been an integral part of this transformation for Chantelle. “My job has helped me immensely,” says Chantelle. “It has helped me a lot with my confidence and my wellbeing.”
Chantelle receives job supports through Achieve Australia’s My Career employment services and has worked as part of the team at AchievAble Enterprises in Newington for the past 12 months.
Previously, social anxiety made it much harder for Chantelle to work or go out on her own and be independent in the community. “I used to be very shy at one stage, but I have really changed the last couple of years,” explains Chantelle.
“Now, I can go travelling by myself,” she says. “I couldn’t do that before because I used to be very scared. I was scared of leaving the house, but now I feel heaps safer in the community.”
Since attending specialised travel training at Achieve, Chantelle can now travel by herself on public transport and enjoys going bike riding. “I’ve been riding for about two years and I love all the scenery around,” says Chantelle.
Zoe from AchievAble Enterprises has been working closely with Chantelle and has seen her come a long way in developing her communication and social skills.
“Recently, Chantelle also had the courage to go out and get several different licences,” says Zoe. “Chantelle has a driver’s, motorbike and heavy vehicle licence and she has also done her white card so that she can be a traffic controller if she wants to.”
“In the past, Chantelle wouldn’t have had the confidence to do these things and it’s really great to see her achieve what she wants to do,” says Zoe.
When asked what she is most proud of, Chantelle says that improving her self-confidence has played the biggest role in her transformation. “I’m most proud of building up my confidence, that is the main thing I’m proud of,” she says.
In her spare time, Chantelle loves doing art tutorials on YouTube and would like to get more experience in developing her drawing skills.
From having social anxiety to building her own independence in strides, Chantelle can now choose to pursue even more opportunities in life.