Finding his family was an unexpected and joyous moment for Terry, a man who has happily been supported by Identitywa over the past 21 years.
Originally from Gnowangerup, Terry was separated from his family in 1959 and lived his early life in various institutions.
A life-changing occurrence happened when Jenni Townson – his relative, advocate, and now legal guardian – tracked him down.
“I tried to find out more about Terry’s life, and in particular his family, without much information to go on,” Jenni recollected.
“After some extensive research and a bit of luck, I eventually found a family connection for us both which led to a trip to Albany.
“Unfortunately, Terry’s family believed he had passed away so it was truly wonderful to reconnect with them in May 2008, and of course for me too,” she added.
Terry first started accessing support from Identitywa in 1998 when he moved into an Identitywa shared house.
Jenni said that Terry has been happy being supported by Identitywa over the past 21 years and has developed a strong network of people around him which has been important for him.
“I am so proud that Identitywa and their support workers have encouraged and assisted Terry to be active in the Aboriginal community, participating in significant celebrations such as Reconciliation Week, Sorry Day and NAIDOC Week.”
As well as the friends he has made in his shared house, Terry connects each week with his people at the Wadjak Northside Aboriginal Community Group.
“Along with visits to Wadjak, he is happiest when he is close to his family and when he is enjoying the fresh air in the bush,” Jenni said.
Terry also loves to watch community football and most Sundays throughout winter, he and his support worker are usually found at the local game cheering along with the crowd.
Last year, NATSICC launched the first ever Acknowledgement Plaque that was endorsed by the Australian Catholic Bishops. Since then, the organisation has distributed more than 400 to every State and Territory in Australia.
The parishes, schools and organisations that display the plaques have become its “Partners in Faith”, including Catholic Education WA, who proudly displays its plaque at the head office of CEWA in Leederville.