Speakers Bank is an annecto program comprising 30 people with a personal experience of disability and ageing, all of whom are trained in public speaking. They volunteer their time to share with the community the story of their lives, their challenges and triumphs. Speakers present a positive image of disability and older people to the broader public and provide information about the challenges that they face.
Over the past year, speakers have presented to 33 groups, including schools, universities, service clubs and local councils. Seniors have facilitated storytelling sessions at the Seniors Festival, spoken to conferences and forums such as the National Disability Services Conference, and presented on local radio stations. Under the organisational leadership of Speakers Bank Coordinator, Mimi Laurilla, there are plans to expand the program using a social enterprise approach.
Ayman Barbaresco is one of the many talented volunteers who share their stories for Speakers Bank. After being diagnosed with a neurological disorder at birth, scoliosis and two brain tumors as well as cancer, he has an incredible life story to tell.
“Volunteering allows me to give back to the community. With Speakers Bank, I’ve had the opportunity of speaking to Rotary where I had a full room of grown adults in tears from me sharing my story. It shows how powerful one story can be”, Ayman related