Hey, I started Project SEARCH in 2019.
I started Hillmorton High School in 2012.
I was a typical teenager who did my schoolwork when necessary and got into trouble without trying – not too regularly though. In my last few years of high school I was given responsibility for looking after my classmates. In my second to last year of high school, 2016, I attended the Health and Social Services CTC course at Ara. Here I discovered there might be opportunities outside of school. I worked hard and received the Outstanding Achievement Award for the course. These activities helped me to grow and learn about myself, and be respected amongst my peers.
Figure 1: Ricky is proudly showing off his two Certificates of Achievement from Ara.
I built a bike!
I have enjoyed showing people that even though I am legally blind (no vision in my left eye and a tiny bit in my right eye), I have become awesomely tech savvy, and clever with my hands. In 2014, I built a bike in Metalwork at school. I cut a bike frame with a hack saw and ground the excess metal from the old bike frame, there were sparks everywhere. I can still remember the sensation of the flying sparks tickling on my skin. The only thing I did not do in my bike building process was weld the new frame together.
Figure 2: Ricky's spin cycle he built in 2014.
When I first heard about Project SEARCH at the end of 2018, I was confused as well as unsure how Project SEARCH could help move into my independent adult world. However, now I am very glad that I went to Project SEARCH because it has changed my life. It has given me skills and confidence to pursue my dreams. I can now visualise and put into action my goals to see my dreams become a reality. I was surprised with how much Project SEARCH can help young adults like myself work towards their dreams regardless of their disabilities. It showed us interns that there is more to life than meets the eye. Starting Project SEARCH was the best thing I have done since leaving school.