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Gemmas Story

I first came to the project because I required some work experience of working with others to get on a social work course next year.

I contacted Scope because they were for people with disabilities and I was interested in experience in this area as although I am disabled myself I have little experience with other disabled people. Scope then passed me onto the Awake Project as it was local to me and I contacted Michael.

This Project appealed to me because it is disabled people helping disabled people, so instead of my disability preventing me doing voluntary work it was actually helping me and a benefit rather than negative as it is nearly always seen as.

When I first met the group I was concerned because they had seen disabilities and I donít and was afraid I wouldnít fit in. However, this was not the case and even though we have very different disabilities we have a lot in common and to discuss.

The training was good as it was only two hours a week so could be fitted into our lives. A lot of voluntary work doesnít understand you cannot give too much time especially when disabled, people do not understand and expect too much from you. I have got a lot our of training, obviously I have learnt new skills and it has helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses but also I have been around people who experience being disabled and can understand things more than others because they have never experience it. I have learnt some details about Cerebral palsy as I never really understood it before so it has raised my awareness of the condition.

My first meeting with my mentee went well. Even though I have never experienced the problem she has I feel I can use other skills I do have to help her which is what itís about. Now we have started mentoring and finished training I am glad I took part in this Project as I feel part of a team and hopefully can help my mentee achieve something they perhaps cannot on their own. I hope I will learn from my mentee as well as them learn from me and I think what I am doing now is more valuable for my future not just work experience but for my personal development.

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