Media/Young Western Sydney resident awarded for her honesty and passion in tackling bullying in schools

Young Western Sydney resident awarded for her honesty and passion in tackling bullying in schools

Natalie Daoud’s simple message: ‘I was bullied at school because of my disability and it’s not OK’

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Natalie Daoud with Perri-Lee Sandell from Cerebral Palsy Alliance accepting her award
 
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PARRAMATTA, 1 OCTOBER 2014 – The passion and dedication of a young resident from the Parramatta area who is determined to stamp out bullying of kids with a disability has been awarded by the NSW Centre for Volunteering.

21 year old Natalie Daoud was awarded the 2014 Sydney Mid West Youth Volunteer of the Year award for her contributions to Cerebral Palsy Alliance’s Just Like You! program run in primary schools, and the Social Inc program run in high schools.

Natalie now features on the Volunteering NSW Winners Honour Roll as a regional winner, and is in the running for the State Awards announced on December 5th.

‘This is a well-deserved accolade for Natalie who has cerebral palsy and has spent the last four years relaying her real life story of schoolyard bullying to students across NSW’, said Perri-Lee Sandell who runs the Just Like You! program.

‘She is a volunteer presenter for our disability awareness programs in primary and high schools, and is brutally honest about her own experiences to educate students and help ensure other kids with a disability don’t endure the same playground torment she did.’

Natalie also harnesses the power of social media, via a blog, a video posted on last year’s World CP Day website and her facebook page (facebook.com/nataliedaoud) to tell her story and raise disability awareness.

She says she is passionate about helping create an inclusive society, where all kids are accepted for who they are.

‘Sadly, my school years were not the happiest as I was badly bullied and excluded for as long as I can remember, particularly during primary school’, Natalie said. ‘My cerebral palsy meant I couldn’t do everything that everyone else could, which made me an easy target at school.

‘But bullying and exclusion is not OK. It is really important that students learn from a young age that people with a disability are the same as everyone else. Volunteering for these two school-based programs and telling my story will hopefully help foster a culture of social inclusion and acceptance so other kids with a disability don’t go through what I did.’

Natalie is one of 2,400 volunteers who contribute a total of 30,000 hours each year providing much needed support for Cerebral Palsy Alliance – saving the organisation an estimated $1.035 million a year (than if the roles were to be paid ones). Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with Cerebral Palsy Alliance can contact the Volunteer Team at volunteer@cerebralpalsy.org.au or (02)9975 8742.

Released on 1 Oct 2014