Welcome to our special series celebrating Diversity and Inclusion in MercyCare’s employees, volunteers and service users. Our stories are accompanied by Steve Wise’s remarkable photographs, that show how these ordinary, yet extraordinary, people are individually effecting change for themselves and the people around them. We hope you enjoy their personal stories.
Courtney Geidans – MercyCare Volunteer
Twice a week, Courtney has made the short commute to her volunteer role at MercyCare’s West Perth head office where she has put her supreme organisational skills to use, making friends along the way.
“Working in the office here make me feel a part of things. It feels quite nice. I’m not in that type of environment every day, people come and talk to me when they feel like it or they have free time. It’s nice to be included,” Courtney said.
Courtney was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at six years of age. Now 31, she lives with her parents but ultimately would like to be independent.
“I live at home for now but maybe down the track I may live alone. That is the goal I have set myself.
“To do this, I think I’ll need to save up a lot of money. Sometimes I feel like I’m a spender not a saver. Mum says, ‘ where does all your money go? You spend too much’. I’m on a very low income being on a pension.”
Courtney said she has learnt plenty of tricks to cope with her Autism.
“I don’t feel like I have a disability, I feel I can control the Autism. When I get upset, I just go
and have some quiet time alone and say don’t talk to me. I can calm myself down this way.”
Over the past year-and-a-half, Courtney has become an integral part of the MercyCare family, spending two mornings a week volunteering with the Community and Home Support and Learning and Development teams.
Without knowing it, all new employees and volunteers are recipients of Courtney’s hard
work in the orientation bags she assembles.
Her role has encompassed putting together training folders and Community and Home Services files, and she is known for her meticulous work, efficiency and willingness to pitch in and help where she can.
Her achievements at work have injected Courtney with confidence that she can assist in a busy office. In fact, her dream job is very similar to her role now.
“My dream job would be an admin assistant who is doing a bit of data entry, the filing and mailouts, writing notes but not answering the phone. It would be great to be in a big office environment somewhere close to the city, so it is easy for me to get there and home in the commute.
“I like it here because the people are nice, and I like knowing that when I come in there is some work for me to do.
“If I’m upset or something people will come over and say, ‘Are you OK?’. It all starts with a conversation – when, what, why, how and who. Being able to talk to people is quite nice.”
Away from work, Courtney spends time playing her Nintendo Switch and connecting with Facebook.
“Facebook is my number one platform. I like the way you can add friends, delete them or block them.”
She has been a keen traveller too, spending time in England, North America and Europe.
“I like the flights and seeing my family on the other side of the world. I would like to do this each year, but I can’t always have it that way.”