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“When I teach yoga, I’m not there to be picky and fix people. I’m there to be supportive and share my passion – that’s the same attitude I bring to being a support worker on Mable.”
When a close friend introduced Shawn to the possibility of providing aged care and disability support to people in his local community, he admits he was nervous.
“Disability support work wasn’t really on my radar and I hadn’t ever looked into it before I heard about Mable.”
Living in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Shawn spends most of his time practicing his long-term passion: yoga. “I started practicing yoga after picking up a few bad habits and disconnecting from the healthier aspects of my life while I studied at university.”
Shawn used yoga to improve his lifestyle and began to explore its benefits after completing hours of study and practice in Mysore, India in 2016.
Following his travels, Shawn became interested in trauma-sensitive yoga through a desire to give power back to those who have had it taken from them. After completing a 300-hour course in trauma-sensitive yoga with the help of teachers in the United States, Shawn established his very own trauma-sensitive yoga studio.
A distinctly different practice to fitness-based yoga, trauma-sensitive yoga focuses on empowerment through allowing people to feel in control of how they move their body. “By introducing people back to their bodies in a safe environment, they can begin to address the specific nature of the trauma.”
But while building his business, Shawn felt the need for a job to keep him busy in the interim.
“Mable sounded perfect when I first came across it. I have a great interest in working in a space where I can contribute to bringing something meaningful into somebody’s life.”
Mable was a completely new way of working for Shawn, but he had already been building his repertoire of support experience as a volunteer in local hospitals and community centres. “I’ve been volunteering at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital as a pastoral carer and I also help out at the Centre for Care & Wellbeing at the Springvale Botanical Cemetery where I facilitate yoga and dancing sessions for people who are recently bereaved.”
For Shawn, being an aged care and disability support worker on Mable marks a new chapter of his life and offers him yet another way of giving back to his local community.
“Support work is something I really want to grow into and it tracks along well while I build my own business. It feels like the right work to be doing because I’m learning something new and spending time outside of what I’m familiar with.”
So, what can clients on Mable expect from Shawn?
“Enthusiasm. For clients who want to get out and connect with their broader communities, I feel like I can really give people the support in that capacity.”
“There have been times where I strongly criticised myself and thought I wasn’t good enough or worthy, and I want people to feel that they are worthy by building mutual respect and a strong relationship. I think that’s the most foundational aspect of support work.”
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