I first visited Heal For Life in 2006 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Thanks to many wonderful people, I know now who I am. I did a lot of training and volunteering with Wesley and Lifeline and returned to study in Welfare, Community Services and Mental Health after my first trip to Heal For Life. I then began training at Heal For Life myself to become a volunteer and later a facilitator. I would not have studied what I did if not for Heal For Life who insisted that if I wanted to join their team, I must have external qualifications too. Heal For Life did not throw me in to support other survivors, they stretched me and encouraged me to aim higher than I had previously thought possible.
At Heal For Life I have learned the real definition of responsibility and self care. To let go of the need to blame. To re-parent my self in a healthier way. To see mistakes as opportunities to learn. To give and receive feedback. To love myself and others equally. I underwent 2 different psychological evaluations (MIPS & OMNI) at Heal For Life as a condition of being a volunteer. The positive effects of what I have gained from Heal For Life have impacted more than just me, it has positively influenced everyone around me.
I was very excited in 2012 when Heal For Life gained accreditation from QIC as I have seen the immense growth in the organisation since 2006. I know when to refer someone for professional support and I know how important it is for that to happen. I love the work we do. I love the people I meet and the joys that they share. I appreciate the feedback that every person is invited to give and I love that sharing stories is not part of the program coz I’m done with the story of my misery, that story is not what makes me who I am.
I have total respect for the right of every person to ask questions, make complaints, be heard and speak up. It is so important for survivors to take back their power and I encourage it although I feel terribly sad when it is done out of malice as that is not empowerment. If my actions hurt others I am disempowering myself and them all over again. I find it much more helpful to get facts first, healthy balanced information so I can make an informed choice, because I learned to do that at Heal For Life too and I am still learning.
I know how to adhere to Laws, ACTs, policies, procedures, ethical guidelines and I am pedantic about it. If I make a mistake, I am grateful to have it pointed out, I apologise and I begin making whatever change is necessary, then I look at what I can learn from it so I won’t make the same mistake again. I also know the people around me do it that way too – I see it daily. I’m not ever going to say Heal For Life is perfect because nothing can be perfect. What I do know is this: the volunteers and staff are skilled, trained, capable and committed to excellent service delivery. Heal For Life is an incredible place to be a part of and will continue to become even better as time goes by thanks to the survivors who continue to be the incredible people they are, giving as much as they do.