Excluded, but now employed and studying...
I’m delighted to introduce you to a past Pegasus participant, Simon. Simon works in our sensory outdoor space, tending to the veggie patch and maintaining the garden. While his story has a happy ending, it wasn’t always so. By becoming a Pegasus Pal you can help us support people like Simon.
Simon, like many people with a disability, has struggled. Born with a blood disorder, he contracted an infection through a blood transfusion. This, combined with side-effects from drugs used to treat the infection, led to permanent hearing loss and mild autism.
Simon’s friends realised he was different. Sometimes this led to him being shunned and excluded from having that ordinary life which so many of us take for granted.
At Pegasus, we see lots of people with physical, intellectual and social disabilities. People who experience anxiety and low self-esteem because of their disability. People who have felt like less of a person, lacking the confidence to forge ahead in life. This was Simon and it is why, on this occasion, I’m asking you to consider making a regular monthly gift to Pegasus.
Simon’s Mum, Louise, said, “There was always an element of ‘I’m not as good as everyone else’. But horses don’t care, they don’t judge. They are the great equalizers!
“Horse-riding was a real boost to Simon’s confidence. That sense of being able to control a really big animal. It meant he had to – and could – take charge”.
Horses are great communicators – listening to you, reading your body language and feeling your emotions. When a participant learns to reward the horse with respect and dignity, the horse becomes a great friend: accepting, kind and calm.
Simon says his time riding at Pegasus was very special.
“Scout was my favourite horse. I learnt a lot and he gave me more confidence,” says Simon.
Louise explained that the Pegasus program encouraged Simon, as a growing teenager, to become a volunteer.
“Volunteering boosted his confidence knowing he was as good as the next person, doing something worthwhile – making a difference – his contribution to the world,” says Louise.
As the CEO, this is what makes me proud! Pegasus provides opportunities for people like Simon, whose biggest aspiration might be to simply have an ordinary life. But it is your support that has made Simon’s journey seamless, from participant to volunteer to employee. It’s you – your generosity and goodwill that gives Pegasus the tools to offer hope.
Louise has no doubt about the impact Pegasus has had on Simon.
“For Simon to have his own job and to be earning his own money – he is just so excited. He even wants to continue studying horticulture. As his mum, it’s so gratifying to see how far he’s come. He now knows that the future and its possible challenges are no longer insurmountable. And that’s so reassuring for me. Pegasus helped Simon build his confidence and develop patience and his experiences have taught him how to plan,” says Louise.
Simon says he really enjoys working at Pegasus.
“I love the peaceful environment – it’s not so fast-paced. And the staff and volunteers are really nice too,” says Simon.
Simon’s story is a perfect example of the special place that Pegasus is. You can help give a person an ‘ordinary life’. Converting your gift to a regular monthly donation provides us with a reliable income. It helps us plan for the future, just like Simon. Pegasus’ vision is to build on our successes and fully utilise all of our assets to offer more programs to more people.
The new National Disability Insurance Scheme only provides a fraction of the government funding that we previously received. It was the only income that provided us with reliable and consistent funding. I am hoping you might help us fill this void.
Your regular monthly donation can help more people – like Simon – transition to the workforce. The Pegasus experience is about development, and in Simon’s case it was his personal growth in a supportive and caring environment that made the difference.
Chief Executive Officer
P.S. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, a monthly gift of $30 can change a life!