Stories From Learners

Stories From Learners > Life changing moments

Life changing moments

Justine

“I joined the classes to meet new people. I had no idea where it would take me.”

After Justine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, art classes at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre in Drysdale helped her to adjust to her new world.

She moved from Western Australia to Victoria. She didn’t know many people and felt quite anxious. But she wanted to join classes to meet new people. She really had no idea where it would take her.

“The classes really suit me down to the ground. I can’t go five days a week to university.”

Find the right learning environment was an issue for Justine. But a community course worked for her.

“My confidence has dramatically improved. I am back to where I was prior to being diagnosed. It has given me opportunities that I didn’t think were available to me anymore.”

Justine, who has also completed a Certificate 1 in Creative Industries at Oxygen College in Geelong, is now exhibiting in galleries and sells her art at community markets and through Facebook. She has won multiple awards for her art.

She also donates some of her works to charity.

“I am giving something back to those who have helped me.”

Justine recently became an MS Ambassador, speaking to raise awareness of the condition. She has also taken up weightlifting and came third in the national masters’ championships in her age and weight group.

“I really don’t know where I would be if I had not walked through SpringDale’s door and had the encouragement of the teachers and students.”

Anne Brackley, coordinator at SpringDale Neighbourhood Centre, adds:

“Justine has turned her life around. She’s inspirational to everyone she meets.”

Justine is a finalist in the Outstanding Pre-accredited Learner category at the Learn Local Awards.