Bradley Lauritzen
Bradley Lauritzen The Northern Star

Respite help for peers earns awards for Bradley

BRADLEY Lauritzen is in Year 10 at Ballina High School and enjoys volunteering his spare time as a helper at Lismore's Interchange Respite Care – "because I care".

Hospitalised several times because of his own unique set of medical problems, these have never stopped him from being a member of the school's LEO Club, and it has developed his compassion for children with special needs.

He became aware that one of these children, Jacob, had mobility difficulties created by his blindness. Bradley happily keeps an eye on Jacob, helping him to the table for meals.

On outings, the 15-year-old helps Jacob so that he enjoys a better time.

He says that he assists others in wheelchairs, helping them with their meals and the like, so that 'they can enjoy themselves as well'.

“I want them to feel included and not different from everyone else,” he says.

“The people at Interchange are happy for me to help with some of the kids because they're my peers and they shouldn't feel different.”

Interchange's Margo Sten says that Bradley is a peer/mentor to up to 10 children.

“He's a gem,” she says. “He gives them friendship through a desire to see them happy.

“Some of them are teenagers, each of them bringing his/her own individuality and personality to the centre. Bradley is very accepting of everyone, with or without special needs, and helping here is his way of giving back to those who have helped him.”

An inspiration to others, this caring young man was recently recognised for his good work, winning his section of the Kids in Community Awards.

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