Local woman ‘blossoming’ through supported employment

Shaylea ZekonisDisability services provider Endeavour Foundation is reaching out to the Castle Hill community, offering information and support ahead of the roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

With an information kiosk at Castle Towers Shopping Centre from Thursday 30 June until Saturday 2 July, the local Endeavour Foundation team is available to support anyone who wants to know more about the NDIS, or feels overwhelmed by the prospect of change.

From 1 July, local people with a disability can look forward to having choice and a voice, as never before. Where the door to employment, education - and society in general – has historically been closed, this is a time of immense opportunity.

Shaylea Zekonis, a supported employee at Endeavour Foundation’s Castle Hill site, has ‘blossomed’ throughout her time with the charity, and now makes it her mission to ensure that her colleagues have the same, positive experience of the working world that she enjoys.

“I’m an employee rep. That means if someone has a problem, or they’re upset, I go to them and talk to them, and then I tell one of the employment coaches so that they can help. I like helping people.”

As Shaylea approaches her 12 year anniversary with Endeavour Foundation, she is described as a ‘confident all-rounder’.

“I like seeing my friends and I like the work. I do all different things like counting and packing. Every day I come in and talk to my friends and make a cup of tea, and then we start work,” she said.

Endeavour Foundation CEO, Andrew Donne, said that the roll-out of the NDIS will signal a ‘wonderful new era for people with a disability’, but acknowledges that significant change can be unsettling.

“Knowledge is power, so it’s vital that people feel that they have the information and support they need going forward,” Mr Donne said.

“As an organisation we’ve always been committed to person-centred care, and now we have a funding system that truly reflects that ethos. That said, people need to be proactive and take steps to ensure that they maximise the potential of this scheme. We would encourage anyone with questions or concerns to visit the kiosk and meet our friendly team.”

Endeavour Foundation staff will be at Castle Towers Shopping Centre – lower level opposite Flight Centre – during the centre’s trading hours from Thursday 30 June until Saturday 2 July.