Saverio is one of the people we support in our group homes. Saverio’s inspiring story not only tells a personal story but one of friendship and trust between Saverio and his support workers.
To know Saverio is to love him. When he walks into the local shopping centre he says a confident hello to each person he knows (and that’s everyone). He is happy, independent and proud.
Melbourne City Mission works with Saverio and many other people with an intellectual disability, supporting them to live the life they want. Taking a person–centred approach, Melbourne City Mission staff assess a person’s needs and then tailor services to meet those needs. Together, personal plans are created, giving each person a specific goal to work towards.
Over the last ten years, Saverio has received support from Melbourne City Mission to develop his independent living skills. His life has changed as a result and he proudly now declares ‘I am independent!’
Gregarious to his core, Saverio loves heading down town to grab a coffee and have a chat with everyone. He’s part of the community and is greeted by all his friends like a local celebrity. Loud and proud of his Italian heritage, Saverio naturally relishes talking about and eating food, especially lasagne and spaghetti bolognese. His outgoing nature brings an instant smile to everyone’s lips. ‘He is a local rock star’ laughs Melbourne City Mission support worker Kelly, who has worked with Saverio for the past four years.
Yet, despite his confidence, Saverio does experience bouts of anxiety. While he is very independent in certain ways, at the same time he still needs support. That’s the wonderful thing about Melbourne City Mission programs and staff — they are there to help someone develop their potential, but are also fully supportive in the areas needed. Saverio spent his early years living at the family home and now lives in one of Melbourne City Mission’s shared supported accommodation houses. Now aged thirty-six, he has come a long way. Saverio’s personal goal was to look after his own money; Kelly and the team of disability support workers helped him achieve this by teaching budgeting and money management skills. Saverio now has his own money box in his room, can go to the ATM, withdraw cash and pay for his own shopping and coffees. ‘I’m proud of myself to be able to buy stuff at Coles and do my banking,’ he said. Kelly and the team are also very proud of the progress Saverio has made.
During the week Saverio attends a day service in Yarraville where he paints, plays sport and is involved in community activities. Saverio absolutely loves going there and sees it as his ‘work’. He has a real sense of pride about it. ‘If he could go there every day of the year he would,’ said Kelly. Saverio thrives on routine and he needs to know what he’s doing on a daily basis. Kelly and the team work hard to ensure Saverio’s schedule stays consistent and provide him with the reassurance he needs at times. It’s plain to see what an amazing relationship Saverio has with Kelly and Alicia, her supervisor — they bounce off each other in conversation and often dissolve into fits of giggles over a joke. It’s a trusting relationship where the qualities of friendship shine through, underpinned by the expertise of trained and experienced support workers.
We support people with an intellectual disability through shared supported accommodation. Donate now so we can improve the lives of people like Saverio.