When Jenna Maguren first entered the doors of Community Connections in Lower Hutt in 2008 it was to access their disability supported living services. She has mild intellectual disability, needing support to live independently.

Today, she is now the one providing support and is doing on-the-job learning to achieve a recognised NZQA qualification in Support Work supported by Careerforce, the ITO for the health and wellbeing sectors.

“What I love about my job as a Support Worker? I suppose it’s helping people learn new things, that’s what I like doing,” Maguren said. When we met her, she was with Alison who she’s helping to learn how to navigate the internet and understand Wellington bus routes.

Support Workers like Jenna Maguren enable people with disability to become fully participating members of their community. They support them to live in their own home, to connect with their community and to enjoy an independent, fulfilling life.

“I learnt when I did my training to do a support plan to help someone achieve their goal. It may be a long-term goal like finding a flat for the first time and then the short-term goal may be finding a course to do.”

A tech-savvy Jenna helping Alison

An inspiration to her colleagues and the people she supports, Maguren herself has achieved many of her goals in the past ten years since she started her journey to independence. She has moved out of her family home and into a flat. She has achieved her NCEA Levels 1 and 2 and about to complete a New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Support Work) Level 3. She became a member of the Toastmasters Club in Petone. She even sat on the board for Community Connections as a client representative advocating for other people with disability.

Next step for Maguren is to share her journey and learnings. She is working with her Service Co-ordinator, Matt Sang, in developing her presentation for an upcoming conference.

Main Photo Caption: Jenna Maguren, Support Worker and Matt Sang, Service Co-ordinator

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