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Posted 17 October 2019
Cherie Raffan has been working with Ability Options for over seven years. In the last three years, as an Employment Advisor connected with the Hornby Hospital, she has worked tirelessly to support and encourage, people with mental health conditions reach their full potential.
Cherie was recently nominated for the Westfield Local Heroes Award by one of the Managers at the Hornsby Hospital. Launched in 2018, the Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program established to support communities across Westfield’s trade areas in Australia and New Zealand.
Cherie was one of the three winners from the six finalists for the Hornsby precinct. Cherie feels both overwhelmed and honoured to be voted a Westfield Local Hero.
At the celebratory morning tea held to felicitate the winners, Cheryl stated, “I don’t see myself as extraordinary, but being nominated was a huge honour! Being a finalist and subsequently, a winner is just mind-blowing. I am so very grateful to everyone for your belief and support. Being a winner means that we’ll be able to assist 10 clients in getting their driver’s licences – and this is likely to be life-changing in such a positive way. It’s a huge honour for disability employment services to be recognised. To everyone who voted for me, I cannot thank you enough.”
Some of her clients are highly qualified but are struggling to find a position; others have never worked or have no recent work history. Many of them are fearful of employment, failure or bullying. She helps them overcome those barriers.
“We try to keep them positive and focused. It might mean creating a resume for someone who has never had a resume or upskilling them to open new doors,” says Cherie.
Through this recognition, Cherie hopes to be able to connect with more employers to further assist her clients into employment.
Cherie has won a $10,000 grant for Ability Options to help their important work to grow. Ability Options will use its grant to fund driving lessons for ten clients. “Having a licence would mean the world to them. It can change someone’s future,” says Cherie.
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