As one of the AYS SLES (School Leavers Employment Support) and Finding & Keeping A Job Coordinators, Renee is sharing with us about how she met her participant Morgan and the transformation she has encouraged and witnessed in the time they’ve known each other.
Renee still recalls the very first appointment she ever had with Morgan and his mother, it was a meet and greet.
Morgan and his mother were meeting various different School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) providers and considering who would be most suitable for Morgan and his needs.
At the time, Morgan was in year 10 and hadn’t been to school in months due to his extreme anxiety. So, during the meet and greet Renee and Morgan were trying to establish a connection and find out if they were a good fit for each other.
Renee says of her first meeting “As with many first meet and greets it was a little bit daunting, Morgan didn’t really engage with me in the beginning… well, not until I asked him if he had any pets.
From that moment we discovered we both had an interest in animals.”
Renee recalls a pivotal moment in that first initial meeting “Morgan showed me a picture of his dogs Rosie and Momo and I later found out that he was impressed that I picked what both of their mixed breeds were, Morgan says this is the reason he picked me!”
From there, Renee and Morgan took small steps in getting to know each other over time. One of the first signs of Morgan’s improved confidence was when he no longer needed his mother to be present in their appointments. Informal appointments suited Morgan best, we would often meet Renee at his house, in a park or in a café.
As his confidence grew even more, Renee and the AYS team consulted with Morgan’s school and began the gradual transition for Morgan to return to school, with supports and suggestions from Morgan, his family and his team.
AYS Peer mentor Jacob would also take Morgan to the gym to improve his confidence and community participation. So, when Covid19 restrictions meant that attending classes moved online, his Peer Mentor Jacob was there to assist him with his online studies, they work well together.
It’s been a rewarding experience for Renee to witness the transformation in Morgan and to have played a significant role in assisting him in overcoming his extreme anxiety, growing more and more confident.
Renee then took Morgan to some different workplaces and it was then that his love for animals was about to land him a dream opportunity. They visited GAWS and decided that the Timid Cat Program at GAWS was the puuurrfect place for Morgan (and the cats) to gain confidence.
Renee recalls “To our disappointment, we both soon learnt that it was not possible to adopt every cat!”
It’s fair to say that Morgan gets as much out of the program as the cats do. His confidence has grown, and the quality of his interactions with others has improved remarkably.
“I’m so proud of how dedicated Morgan is and also to the enthusiasm he shows and willingness to learn.” says Renee.
Morgan also volunteers at PC For Kids, a self-funded charity run exclusively by volunteers, where unused or unwanted computers from businesses, schools and the public are donated and rebuilt.
Here, Morgan disassembles laptops, hard drives and computers to learn how they should be assembled. Although this is a totally different type of industry for Morgan to gain work experience in, he really enjoys his work and has become quite the expert!
He’s been able to take home what he’s learnt and build his very own computer.