Victor is one the youth workers at DCA helping young people from 6 through to 23 years of age. His lived experience, skills, personality and drive, quickly saw him become a great mentor to many. When he is not supporting, guiding, mentoring and acting as a walking talking directory to the services available to help and inspire young people, you'll find him on a snowboard, mountain bike or thinking about cars. He has profound hearing loss in both ears. If he ruled the world he’d ensure there was equality for ALL.
Victor is very passionate about supporting and helping others, encouraging and motivating them to achieve better future outcomes for themselves.
‘As a role model I show people what is possible,’ he said.
Victor arrived in Australia from Russia in 1994, aged 5. He had to quickly learn Auslan and English. It taught him to be resilient and to persevere, this has stayed with him throughout his life, and it's paid off. This is what he shares with his clients.
‘There are lots of things many of us do that we take for granted. For example, picking up the phone to call a friend, a service or, to order take away. This can be a difficult task when you are deaf or hard of hearing (HoH). We have to contact the relay service to then make a call and it is not always available, there are delays. Imagine the ramifications of a delay in the case of an emergency,’ Victor explained.
‘These day to day activities can end up being daunting for someone that is deaf or HoH. There are added layers to everything we do most of the time. It can impact on confidence; it can cause someone to become isolated,’ he said.
Because of Victor’s lived experience, he is able to relate to many of his clients, and work out strategies to help them, get them motivated, try new things, to remove the barriers.
He recalls one client that was unresponsive and how he had to move slowly to instil change, encourage the client to be ambitious. The same client is now seeking a mechanics apprenticeship, something the client is passionate about.
Helping people in this way brings joy to Victor, it is one of the many rewards of the role.
The most common challenge facing my clients, is confidence. I help them to overcome barriers, speak and advocate for themselves instead of relying on someone else to do it for them.
This is key to gaining confidence, something a client can apply to everything, social settings, at school or at work.
I take into account a client’s age, personality and their experience to develop strategies to help them.
When a client engages with me, it's then easier for me to support them. This opens the door to change, it can be a small step, but it can allow the client to see new opportunities, ways to overcome a challenge. This is really rewarding,' said Victor.