For people with and without disability, being part of a community where we feel valued, supported and appreciated is an important aspect of life.
David Wetzler lives at Crowle Estate, and says it is also these links to community that are one of the most essential parts in his life. “I like living at Crowle because I’m part of my community,” he says. “I love talking to my friends and keeping busy.”
Since moving to Crowle Estate in 2017, David has established close bonds with the on site staff, other residents in the apartment complex and the local community through various programs and activities.
“Since David moved to Crowle he has become more confident and takes pride in his new home and his appearance,” says Achieve Australia’s Community Living Manager, Ruchika Mangla. “He has made lots of new friends and has become more social and outgoing too.”
Disability support services from Achieve Australia such as Support Coordination, Supported Independent Living (SIL), employment supports and lifestyle day programs help David to build his daily living skills, maintain a steady job and create stronger social bonds.
Achieve Australia’s Support Coordinator, Tamara Junghans, explains that while it hasn’t always been easy for David, with the right supports David now has more opportunities and choice than he had before.
“Previously, David was living on his own in community housing and didn’t have adequate disability supports in place,” says Tamara. “We’ve been able to work closely with David to build on his independence, help develop daily routines and improve his travel and social skills so that he can go out more.”
As part of David’s goal to create stronger links with community, he also attends lifestyle day programs at Achieve’s Araluen hub. Among various creative pursuits, he takes part in weekly art, writing and photography programs.
During the Positive Partners literacy program, David created illustrations for the Bluey the Polar Bear short story as well as artworks for his own short story: Daniello and Her New Friends. Inspired by friendship, courage and community, David wrote his short story with the help of a corporate volunteer and mentor from PricewaterhouseCoopers. At the end of the program, all short stories were compiled into the book Seven Inspired Tales: A Collection of Short Stories.
When he’s not busy attending programs, David enjoys walking, fitness and being outdoors. “My favourite place to visit is Terrigal,” he says. “I like going for long drives to explore and visit the coast because I like the beautiful scenery.”
In future, David wants to go on holiday to Dubbo and focus on developing new skills. “I have a goal to learn bowling one day too,” he smiles.
This feature first appeared in Travel Without Limits magazine. You can subscribe here.