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Wesley Doves shares stories of inspiring women

15 May 2015 Wesley Mission news

Wesley Doves 2015

Genevieve Clay-Smith never thought she’d amount to much as a teenager but today she has soared beyond difficulties to become a film maker and entrepreneur giving hope and opportunity to others. Not to mention being named 2015 NSW Young Australian of the Year.

Over 100 guests heard Genevieve’s inspiring story at the second annual Wesley Doves lunch on 7 May, warmly hosted by patron Carol Garner at The Tea Room in the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney.

Wesley Doves was established in 2014 to create a network of compassionate, socially aware women who could come together to make a difference and support the work of Wesley Mission.

The event provides a window into the lives of Wesley Disability Services clients and the people who care for them and provides insights from people whose lives have been touched by disability.

This year, Genevieve shared how her desire to give a talented and ambitious young man with Down Syndrome, Gerard O’Dwyer, an opportunity to reach his potential led her to create the short film Be My Brother. The film won the 2009 Tropfest award for best film and Gerard took home the award for Best Actor.

Genevieve wants to help people with disability, who may have been underestimated or overlooked, understand what they can achieve and reach their potential and she is doing just that through her inclusive filmmaking organisation, Bus Stop Films.

“I believe anyone interested in learning about and being involved in the film industry should be able to give it a go,” Genevieve said.

Guests also heard the story of Virginia (‘V’) Samuela, a former Wesley Disability Services client who acquired her disability in her mid-thirties. With the help of Wesley Disability Services, V is now able to move into independent living with her husband and start the next chapter of her life.

V shared how Wesley Disability Services gave her moral support, assistance with everyday living and stability and space to be able to grow and develop new life skills.

“Without Wesley Mission I would probably be in a nursing home,” V said. “We need places like Wesley Disability Services to help people not end up in those situations,” she said.

Funds raised from the event go to support Wesley Disability Services.