I was sitting in the office with Elisa, talking through the logistics of an upcoming disability expo where we were showcasing the Plan Tracker App. Getting out in our community gives me a such a buzz. There’s so many great opportunities with this upcoming expo, yet all I’m really wondering to myself is: how on earth did I get here? How on earth am I so lucky to work on something I’m so passionate about? How on earth did I get the chance to advocate for real Choice and Control? How on earth did I get the opportunity to collaborate on this with Elisa?’ The depth & clarity of her vision is truly inspirational to me.

Well, several days later I knew exactly ‘how on earth’ I had gotten here…..relationships. I had received an invitation from Ability Links, inviting me to attend a visit at their office, with the Minister for Disability and Multicultural Affairs. I was going to share with the Minister, how this community service has provided ongoing support to my family.  Gosh, anyone who knows me, would know it is NOT a short story. But I didn’t have forever, only a few minutes to speak with him. What’s the most important thing I wanted him to know about my Ability Links experience?

“It’s the relationships” I said, “the 3 linkers that we’ve worked with since 2015 have shown me HOW.”

“Debbie helped me see the power of community in my children’s lives. She changed my own view of myself, from a vulnerable mum needing supports to a zealous community builder.”

“Clair taught me the communication skills required for advocacy work. She instilled in me the belief that positive change takes place, one conversation at a time.”

“Jemima demonstrated to me the profound affect person-centred planning can have.  After working with Jemima, I recognised that true Choice and Control is the only way NDIS will succeed.”

“I now have the privilege of working on a startup within the NDIS space. The core beliefs and skills that I’ve developed from my time with Ability Links has brought me to this place. I’m thrilled at the prospect of putting innovative technology in the hands of NDIS participants, so they can develop true Choice and Control over their disability supports.”

The Minister understood my point. “Sarah, that’s great news” he said with a smile. This work lights me up, as I’m taking part in building Choice and Control, one conversation at a time.

To watch Sarah’s TV interview with the Minister please click here.

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