Joy Gets Her Wings

Reflection by Joy NuskeMy name is Joy Nuske. I was introduced to Social Health Australia, in November 2023. As a totally blind person living on my own, I was looking for people I could connect with, both on the phone and in person. I had a list as long as your arm of things I really wanted to do — go cherry picking, go to farmers’ markets, go furniture shopping — and the list went on and on. These things are not always possible for someone who is totally blind. From the very first time I spoke with Joe and then Annie, it was abundantly clear to me that these things could be achieved. Joe and Annie really listened to everything I said and took onboard my frustration. Annie, the best matchmaker in the business, very soon matched me as a Community member with a wonderful companion, Tim. After we chatted on the phone for well over an hour, I just knew we clicked.

We went for a very long drive, on a very wet and dreary day, shortly after our phone chat. The conversation flowed easily, and it felt as if we’d known each other for a long time. We agreed that a trip to a farmers’ market would be fabulous and as a result, we’ve been to several, as well as other shopping destinations. Tim and I are now very good friends. Annie and Joe were there, every step of the way, interested in the things Tim and I had done and how we were engaging with one another. Their support at the time was invaluable to me. Several weeks ago, Annie and Joe asked me if I’d like to become a Companion. I was thrilled and felt very touched to think they saw qualities in me, which they thought I could offer as a Companion. I now companion 3 Community members and I look forward to our chats every few days. When you listen, you learn, and I have learned so much from my Community members. Their stories and memories have enriched my life in ways I never thought possible.

It is a real privilege to be a part of Social Health Australia. As a Companion, I receive ongoing support and training from Annie and Joe and they are always there for me, no matter what the concern. Every day now holds new possibilities for me and I look forward to continuing my journey with Social Health Australia. For me, they have opened doors, which previously had been firmly closed, but no longer. Social Health Australia is a unique and very necessary Organisation — long may it remain!