“I am a parent carer to Luke and Linda. My son is eight years old and has non-verbal autism.”

“I first heard of Your Caring Way at a community event with other carers.

I decided to give them a call and my life has changed because of it.

Accessing the program Your Caring Way has made a huge difference in my life.

Before I was working just to get by. Earning the money but not working in an environment where I thought I was contributing what I had as a carer to now, having a Vocational Coach with Your Caring Way who is instrumental in hearing what I really wanted to do which is community engagement, give back a lot of knowledge and life experience as a carer, and also as a mother and indigenous woman.

I was able to speak freely about what I wanted to do and make sure that it balanced with my caring role and also something that’s fulfilling.

Now I am working in special schools with My Time Queensland and Playgroup Queensland and that’s all because of my conversations with my vocational coach at the very start. She helped with my resume writing, the Skills for Success course also helped me; just something for the carer to know that there is something out there to support them outside of their caring role, from start to finish.

Amy was my vocational coach, and she was great. She pushed me to kind of see it through and I’m thankful for that.

I am employed now, working part-time, studying part-time and I also feel like I am being the best mother and carer for my son and my daughter. I am really thankful for Your Caring Way and Carers Queensland.

I am studying for a bachelor’s degree in human services with a major in Community Development at USQ. I really want to do this because I feel there is a need for Indigenous workers in this field.

Working part-time and studying part-time is a good balance for me. At the moment I am working two days and hopefully, that might change to three days.

Your Caring Way gave me confidence by enabling me to see that they would align me with organisations that knew that carers need that flexibility for us to attend our caring responsibilities without feeling guilty about it.

Our caring role is ultimately our number one role in our lives so just being able to find an organisation that understood that is important. I do want to study and work but at the same time, I need to be able to do things for my child.

I think only carers or special needs parents understand the anxiety around having to deal with that all-time, sometimes it prohibits you from wanting to start something for yourself because you know that your life is unpredictable so it feels good to have someone coaching you and letting you know they will be there at every step to find that employment or that study option.

I am here, I’m happy and I’m looking forward to the future and where I can from here. My children have adapted really well to my changes. They are much happier because I’m happier. Life as a carer can be chaotic at some time but I feel supported. You know you can still go after your dreams and do your best. You shouldn’t let the situation determine where you go in life.

Before calling Your Caring Way, I had no direction. I just felt that no one understood how hard my life was and is. For someone like me, being able to help others, helps me. But first I have to look after myself. I was first caught in this turmoil like ‘I am not doing enough’, ‘I’m not doing things I used to do before I was a parent’. I felt really stuck and didn’t feel like services were really listening.

Making that call was a bit nerve-wracking because I thought how do I say: help me. It’s so hard to ask for help as a carer. We’re seen as endless givers and strong people. We can’t really share our daily struggles because what the person we are caring for is going through, surmounts everything else.

So, I started to reflect on what I really wanted to do and I also reflected on how can I keep up this caring role to make sure that my son is getting the best out of me and out of life.

Making that call was vital because I was able to speak to someone, say this is where I’m at, I’d like to do this; I don’t know how to do it, I don’t know if I can see it through, I think I was on the phone for about two hours and having someone to listen really helped.

I’m proud of myself for making that call. I can say that now.”