Every day, our hearts are warmed with stories of the life-changing impact that Sony Foundation’s programs and initiatives are so clearly having. With our Children’s Holiday Camp Program beginning from just one camp 20 years ago, to now having 28 Camps across 50 schools and universities in Australia, there is no doubt that this magical program is working to generate real and lasting change. Not only does it provide free-of-charge respite for the families of children with special needs whilst also giving the children the holiday of a lifetime, it is also helping to break down the barriers and prejudices that exist for Australia’s special-needs individuals and in doing so, is encouraging more young Australians to pursue working in the disability sector. Recently, Sony Camp alumni Pat Benson shared his experiences of Sony Camp and how it inspired him to start working as a disability support carer.
Sony Foundation volunteer Pat Benson enjoyed his first experience at Sony Camp so much, he returned the following year. Now, he’s working on Hireup, an online platform for people with disability to find support workers who fit their needs, as a disability support worker with the goal of a career in medicine. He credits the Sony Camp for affirming his purpose, and Hireup for giving him the opportunity to live it.
Read on to hear more of Pat’s uplifting story on his journey as Sony Camp Companion to disability support worker.
“At school, I was provided with the opportunity to volunteer at the Sony Children’s Holiday Camp. This involved providing one-to-one support for a teenager or young child with a disability for four days. This experience definitely shaped my perspective at an important period during my life and cultivated my love for working in the sector in a disability support role. I returned back to the camp in the following year as a volunteer supervisor (2013), and was able to work again in this capacity.
I’ve always wanted to find a career path in which I would be able to work with other people and do something that was actively making a positive difference in society. As I reached year 12, I had given some thought towards a career in medicine as a way to bring about positive change but I still had my doubts as to whether this was what I wanted to do or not. To be honest, I had no real clue what I was doing or where I was going. I just had the inkling.
After the camp, I become far more certain that I wanted to pursue a career in the disability sector as a doctor. However, this was years down the track. I was still looking for work that would give me fulfilment and enjoyment.
In late 2016, I heard about Hireup and I soon joined and became a support worker in the platform. The experiences, enjoyment and satisfaction this work has provided me with have been unparalleled. Support work has allowed me to deepen my sense of empathy and understanding for people with a range of different life experiences. It’s definitely strengthened my resolve to pursue becoming a doctor in the disability sector, and has allowed me to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disability and their families in my community.
Being a Hireup support worker has given me a diverse skill set and the ability to relate to and communicate with people, which is an asset in any working or personal context.”
It’s stories like these that remind Sony Foundation and all who support from fundraising to program participation, why their contribution is changing the lives of so many Australians for the better.
Hireup is the online platform for people with disability and their families to manage their own supports. For camp attendees or volunteers, it’s a great way for everyone to continue community involvement through support work or access to support. For more information about Hireup go to: www.hireup.com.au