When Ability Linker Wendy first met Brenda (pictured second left with Linker supports) it was almost impossible to make eye contact. For many years Brenda had built her life around looking after her family and household, but somewhere along the way she seemed to have lost all her dreams and aspirations.
“It took a long time and a lot of meetings to get her to open up,” Wendy says. “She was isolated at home but her fear of the outside world meant she stayed home because she felt safe there.”
Wendy worked hard to build a relationship with Brenda, meeting her a number of times and gradually getting her to the point where Brenda felt she could open up and share her story.
“The more I listened the more she revealed, and the one thing that really stood out was her passion for singing,” Wendy says.
Brenda and Wendy both live in Tamworth, the country music capital of Australia, so it wasn’t too hard for Wendy to use her local contacts to find a friendly recording studio happy to help Brenda record a few songs.
Once Brenda’s rich vein of talent was tapped, there was no stopping her.
“I thought she’d just want to record songs for her husband and family, but there was no way she wanted to stop there – she wanted to sing in front of hundreds of people at our Festival of Abilities, and this was another dream Brenda eventually achieved,” Wendy says.
“Today she sings at church and at community events that she attends with her support workers, because with our help she now also has an NDIS package.”
Wendy says that since she started working with Brenda she has seen a scared, shy and very lonely girl turn into a strong independent woman who is not scared to speak up and tell people what she wants.
“The Ability Links program gave Belinda the support she needed by providing that safe place and asking those questions that no-one had ever asked her before, so she could find herself in her own time,” Wendy says.
“She’s breaking down barriers every day for others with disabilities, and she’s now working on putting her personal journey into a book.
“She doesn’t quit and she will try anything.”