We recently spent an unforgettable week in the Yorke Peninsula with the communities at the “bottom end”. On the invitation of Steph Ball from the Ballara Art and Lifestyle Retreat in Warooka we drove approximately 3000km to present Willo’s story and open the door to what we hoped would be another community batting for Willo.
I can honestly say it was so much more than what we imagined. This community through Steph and Robyn, opened their arms to Will, opened their eyes and hearts to his story and committed to bringing more awareness and understanding around our children. They got to know him and feel his incredible warmth and heart. They felt his love of life and saw his abilities… which are numerous.
I think the best way for me to share this experience is via a letter that came from Suzie… a teacher and parent from a local school in Yorktown.
“I support children with special needs in a school and some of my students have Autism.
We are a main stream School and I strive to make a difference for our Special Ed students and be a voice for those that struggle and to help families gain knowledge and support them anyway I can. When I heard we were having a visit from this family I thought this was a perfect opportunity to welcome families into the school that may be needing a few questions answered or just to have a chat with someone that experiences what they do day in and day out.
NO WORDS can explain the impact that Will, Ange (Will’s mum) and Will’s Grandma had on the students and the families.
We had the most positive outcome from our parents thanking them for the information that they shared. Giving them hope for the future for their own children, making them understand they are not alone and answers are out there and its ok to have bad day’s but lots of positives can be had by our beautiful children’s interest and hobbies.
Ange has raised awareness and her positive words have taught me many different things but what impacted me in the school environment the most was her words “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn through their favourite things”
My son was so moved with Will and his love of cricket that Nic wanted to take Will and have a hit in the nets and show him his local club. Yes Sunbury!!! a cricket pitch in the middle of a paddock with a small grandstand and tiny clubrooms.
Nic, Will and my nephew Max were in the nets for hours batting and bowling and building a friendship that would last forever. Nic and Max heard the story about Will and Willo Industries and how this brings hope to the future for Will and others.
Nic for hours on end after meeting Will keep talking about him and saying things like “Mum we need to help I want to be friends with Will forever”, Mum If I only ever have Will as a friend that’s ok he’s amazing” “I wish Will lived closer and we could share their story around more”. But the most treasured comment was “I never realised meeting Will would teach me as much as it has”. “Having a disability doesn’t have to stop you from living your dreams and being able to live a happy and healthy life each time I play cricket now I am going to play for Will”. I was so proud of Nic 12 years old and what amazing words.
If it wasn’t for the visit or the passion in the way Ange told her story Nic wouldn’t have the understanding he has.
Not only has Ange impacted my families life but the local Communities life forever.
The road to understanding autism in our local community has always felt unfinished, punctuated by speed bumps that can be hard for families to feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. Until we were introduced to Ange and Will from Willo Industries.
Autism is not for the faint of heart, it requires a level of compassion, patience and love that can only be felt. I can say that working with autism is exactly what I never knew I needed until it changed my way of thinking.
Ange has showed me that Autism is the ultimate teacher in life and love. Ange has given hope to myself and others to appreciate the little things in life, celebrate the minute successes in daily living and turn inward to find the truth, strength and hope.
It can be a wild run but I am eternally gratefully I got to meet and hear Ange and Will’s story they have taught me there is always room in the heart for one more friend.
Nothing more exciting than meeting new people, hearing their stories and being inspired. Life is about the people you meet and the memories you create with them.
Meeting Ange and Will has impacted all areas of my life, work, parenthood, friendship and personally.
Thank you just doesn’t seem enough, can’t wait to catch up again”.
Suzie Harvey Yorketown SA 5576