Gold Awardee, Claudia Morando-stokoe, had an extremely valuable Award experience. Her Service activity ignited her passion for helping children with disabilities and has encouraged her to pursue a career in Occupational Therapy. Here she shares her story:

“I first volunteered with Dandenong Valley Special Development School because my brother attended this school and I thought it would be interesting. By the end of my work experience, I was offered a placement position and decided to come back for a full year to complete my Duke of Ed.”

“I have been around people with disabilities all my life as my older brother has autism however, I’d never been given the opportunity to assist in the caring of young children with disabilities so it was a very different experience for me.”

“For the first two weeks I was very nervous, I didn’t know what any of their triggers would be. I was working in a room with eight children under the age of 5, who all had disabilities which was really eye-opening. I spent my first two weeks getting to know each individual child which helped me for the rest of my year. I grew bonds with the all the children I was with and it was fantastic to see how excited and happy they were to meet someone new. It was a great feeling knowing that I could help the teachers work with children one on one, but also being able to help a child myself.”

“Growing up, I always knew I wanted to have a career where I would be able to help people in some way or another. After my year at Dandenong Valley SDS, I have realised that I really want to help children with disabilities which has lead me to consider Occupational Therapy as a career. After speaking to some of the Occupational Therapists at the school and spending time with them, I am now certain this is what I want to do and found my passion for helping others where if I can help anyone in anyway, I always do.”

“Throughout my experience I have had many job offers and although I’ve had to reject these due to my current work load, it’s an amazing feeling to know that there are people who are willing to hire me. It’s fantastic to think that someone has appreciated the work that I put in so much that they are willing to offer me a job!”

On behalf of the team at Duke of Ed Victoria, we would like to congratulate Claudia on her fantastic achievements. Claudia will be receiving her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at the Gold Award Gala in December this year. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to purchase a ticket to support more young people discovering their passions. More info here.

If you are unable to attend the night but would like to make a donation to help us reach, equip and mentor more young Victorians from diverse, disadvantaged and remote backgrounds you can find more info here.

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