It has always been of importance to us here at Enthuse, to encourage our members to step outside their comfort zones from time to time and never doubt their ability to inspire and educate others. Several of our members agreed to do just that in Term 1, when they volunteered their time to lecture to over 100 (Social Work and Human Services) students at QUT and share with them their lived experiences of living with a disability.
This was not the first time our Enthuse members had been invited to lecture to university students and despite their nerves, Kamm Mitchell, Pippa Rogers, Hannah Matthews and Natasha Hila, were all excited to step up, share their stories and meet the students who may wind up working in the disability sector someday. Together they formed ‘The Ability Panel’ and worked on their speeches, public speaking and delivering a PowerPoint presentation prior to taking the stage.
The members of ‘The Ability Panel’ took turns speaking to the crowded lecture theatre. They shared their positive experiences, their frustrations and their hopes and dreams.
Pippa had the crowd in stitches laughing, when she explained to them that because of the way her mind works, sometimes it takes time for her to say what she is thinking “unlike Donald Trump, I actually do think before I speak”.
Hannah’s passion and honesty when sharing her struggle of trying to obtain paid employment in the field she is qualified in, touched the audience and opened the room for conversation surrounding these trials and tribulations.
Kamm had expressed that he was too embarrassed to speak once arriving, but after seeing his peers take the stage, the confident young man emerged and he wound up delivering a killer speech, sharing his experiences and answering questions from the audience afterwards.
And when Tash was asked by a student “What does the word disability mean to you?”, naturally she decided to sing how she felt about it and these were the lyrics she chose to express herself:-
“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me.
Look out cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me”
Wow! What a magical moment it was to witness.
We truly believe here at Enthuse, that there is no better way for University students (or anyone!) to learn about disability, than to hear it from the people who are living with a disability and listen to both the positive and negative lived experiences they have endured throughout their lives.
We will always encourage our members to speak up, share their stories and continue to educate the people they meet and cross paths with throughout life.
Forming a mutually beneficial relationship with QUT has been an absolute delight and such a positive experience for our Enthuse members and The Ability Panel. We would like to thank Dr Lisa Stafford for inviting us to be a part of the lecture at QUT and all her ongoing support.
We look forward to delivering more lectures on the lived experiences of people living with a disability, in the future!