SSI News Blog

Emma Mackenzie is an Ability Links participant living with cerebral palsy and mild intellectual disability in the Hills area. She met SSI Ability Links linker Sonal one year ago and worked with her on creating opportunities to fulfil her dreams.

Ms Mackenzie has become an active member of her community as she strives to build the skills needed to maintain an independent life. Each Thursday she volunteers her time by attending a social group at Westmead Children’s Hospital.. Through these sessions she has discovered her love of public speaking and one day hopes to make a career out of it.. “Ability Links has recognised my strengths and has worked with me in linking me with various services, including a psychologist who helps me manage my anxiety,” said Ms Mackenzie.

Ms Mackenzie is also a casual worker at ANZ Stadium, as well as waitressing at Ratha’s Café in St. Marys. Linker Sonal saw the strength within Ms. Mackenzie offering her an opportunity to join the Ability Links Ambassador Program. As part of this role, Emma shared her experience and worked as Master of Ceremonies in an event held in Rouse Hill last month. This was her first professional experience speaking in public, and she was thrilled to have had this opportunity.

With the help and encouragement of Linker Sonal, Emma felt supported and was able to deliver in her role as the event’s MC in emphatic fashion.

“I am very delighted to be an Ability Link’s Ambassador. This is an opportunity where I can share my stories of success and showcase my ability”, Ms Mackenzie added.

Success stories

SSI Volunteer Spotlight: Sue Vile

Courtesy The Australian: Ethiopian refugee Adi Tefera, left, with volunteer chef Kate Spina at Four Brave WomenSue Vile was among the first to be inducted into the SSI’s Armidale volunteer program, bringing with her a wealth of experience and existing training gathered from her time in aid work, in Australia and abroad.

A retired school teacher and nurse, Sue has dedicated an enormous amount of her time in recent years on the front line of humanitarian services, helping refugees at many stages of their journey to safety.


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