Ipswich woman works three jobs despite obstacles

There were some things Darelle Bond, 22, knew right from when she was seven years old.

She would always need someone to help care for her, she would not be able to see or speak properly again and she would never have a job.

When she was six years old, Darelle experienced a severe heart attack and stroke.

The resulting acquired brain injury left her with no short-term memory, no right-side peripheral vision and impeded mobility and speech.

“Imagine if you can that you are a normal child who is considered brighter than your peers, then suddenly you suffer a traumatic brain injury and doctors debate whether to turn off your life support,” Darelle’s guardian Keith Nutton says.

“You spend about seven months in hospital before going to your new home, effectively as a seven-year-old baby.

“Then over the years you learn all the things a baby has to while growing up.

“Of course, with no short-term memory so many things are more difficult.”

But even with all of the cards stacked against her, Darelle has fought every day to overcome the hand she was dealt.

Darelle now holds down three jobs, volunteering roles at Ipswich Special School, Kambu Indigenous childcare centre and Carinity Education Southside.

She says volunteering at her old primary school, Ipswich Special School, is special to her as she loves music and the familiarity of her old school.

“I like to help other young students learn and I also like to see all the staff that are still there from when I went to school there,” Darelle said.

Ipswich Special School deputy principal Tracey Banks said Darelle typifies community spirit though her volunteering.

“She is so keen to give back to the community that she volunteers in a number of places and even returned to her old school to help out,” Ms Banks said.

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers

From 18–24 May 2020, thousands of events will be held across the country to say thank you to the 6 million Australians who volunteer their time.

The national theme for 2020 is Changing Communities. Changing Lives.

“She comes to the school each Tuesday to support our Music Therapist and usually wears hats with lots of sequins.”

Carinity Education Southside Principal Leann Faint says Darelle has been an incredible addition to the Southside team and has never missed a day while volunteering.

“Darelle is a beautiful young girl who has committed a lot of her own personal time to coming into this school and brightening the days of our young ladies,” Ms Faint said.

“She will help with anything and everything she possibly can to help our girls succeed.

“Despite her own challenges and barriers to education, she still makes the effort to come into our school, sit with the students and go through class work with them.”

Darelle said she loves working with the little ones at Kambu Indigenous childcare centre.

“They love playing with me,” she said.

Mr Nutton said Darelle is very proud to be able to work.

“Volunteering gives her a sense of being needed,” he said.

“She has a great sense of humour and brightens up people’s day and she is helping which is important to her.”

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Volunteering helps to build and create communities, develops people’s skills, strengthens networks and provides a sense of belonging and connection.

Recognising the unique talents, skills, knowledge and experience that volunteers contribute, Ipswich City Council engages more than 200 volunteers across a suite of programs and activities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, council volunteering activities are currently suspended.

Council would like to thank each and every one of their volunteers and looks forward to their return.

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