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Peter's positive outlook inspires WA Youth Award judges

BY JASMIN STUART

Peter Hall.

It is not hard to see why 18-year-old Peter Hall is a worthy winner of the 2011 WA Youth Awards.

Peter is a remarkable young man, who has refused to allow cerebral palsy dysplasia to limit his enjoyment of life.

Peter and carer.Cerebral palsy dysplasia is a severe physical disability that has forced Peter to live permanently in a wheelchair.

Although he stays at home with his family in the Perth northern coastal suburb of Ocean Reef, he requires to be looked after by specialist carers around the clock.

In spite of some obvious physical challenges which many people could not overcome, Peter has become an inspiration to all young and not-so-young people, who have been fortunate enough to get to know him.

The WA Youth Awards winners were announced during National Youth Week in April. The awards were established in 1999 to recognise outstanding young Western Australians between the ages of 12 and 25.

These annual awards honour the hard work and dedication of young people, youth workers and youth-led groups throughout WA.

In addition to recognition through the award, each category winner received $2,000 and a trophy to take home.

Peter and friends.

This year Peter won an award called “Motivate!” that Woodside sponsored.

Peter was judged to be an inspirational role model in the community because of his vast involvement with different organisations.

Peter works tirelessly to increase awareness and understanding of the people who endure disability.

It is noteworthy that he is not only focused on the disability from which he suffers but also addresses other forms of disablement.

He is also working to gain an improved understanding and greater management of issues such as social isolation. So far this has been handled with a recent development of a specially designed website to help those with disabilities to access information and social networks.

Peter is involved in such organisations as the Youth Parliament Committee, Princess Margaret Hospital for Children’s Committee, as well as conducting volunteer work for the Joondalup Council.

He is truly an active participant and is not reluctant to speak publicly at meetings and events.

Awards ceremony.Peter is dedicated to ensuring the wider community hears a stronger voice from young people with disabilities. He has a strong commitment to improving the quality of life, access to services and support for people, especially young people, with disabilities. Peter is a firm believer that to make a difference, people have to become actively involved.

However, life has not been easy for this young man. When a student at Belridge Senior High School, Peter said he felt isolated and was not treated with the respect he would have liked.

He also found it frustrating that because of his disability, he was never encouraged to take part in the same activities as his fellow students.

Peter continually pushed back on being left out. School staff later described him as a very determined, motivated and self-disciplined student.

While at school Peter attended TAFE, where he completed the Lifeskills Program and Certificate 1 courses in Horticulture and Business and Information Technology.

Community work.

In his usual style, Peter bears no resentment about those times and understands it would have been difficult also for his fellow students.

In fact, these experiences only served to motivate him to become the role model he is today. It is because of the isolation and frustration that Peter felt growing up that he was determined to campaign on behalf of fellow sufferers.

In his spare time, Peter enjoys taking part in activities such as Scouts and also enjoys playing wheelchair soccer.

He received the City of Joondalup’s Student Citizenship Award in 2009 and would like to complete Certificate 2 in IT at TAFE because of his passion for technology.

Peter is now working 10 hours a month with Community Vision and his dream job would be a disability support officer for the Scout Movement.

Sadly all Peter’s hard work and determination was not spawned without a purpose.

He said: “A friend with cerebral palsy died at age 17, when I was 16; and I took it quite hard as this was the first time I really thought about the possibility of that happening to me.

“I decided to give something back to the community as it gives me a positive outlook for life, and others have given so much to me several times over.”

Working with the young.

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