Amelia Meades was recognised at the National Achievement Awards for her incredible accomplishments in 2019.
The year 2019 was most definitely the year of Amelia.
It kicked off in February with Amelia attending a four day “Making it on my own” (MIOMO) course with about 30 other teenagers and young adults.
The course is offered to under 25s and aims to increase independence and support the transition to adulthood and resulted in a noticeable shift in Amelia’s view of herself.
But in terms of taking responsibility for her own development, this event was far outshone by Amelia’s decision a few months later to tackle head-on her long-term and debilitating needle phobia. Blood tests, vaccinations, dentists, everything that involved needles was a trial.
With a safari trip to Kenya planned for the end of the year, Amelia undertook a graduated exposure therapy at Anxiety Trust that culminated in a visit to the local doctor’s clinic to get up close and personal with some needles.
Amelia made a conscious decision to take part in the therapy in order to help herself and the therapist said that her engagement with the process was the key factor that led her to the point where she was able to receive her six vaccinations for Kenya without a qualm. Her family were so proud of her – no more needle phobia for Amelia!
The five-week trip to Kenya and Australia with her family was reward in itself. Glamping in safari conditions and viewing the wonderful animal life.
Fortunately Amelia loves taking photos so she will have memories she can revisit for years to come.
Quickly following on from this though was the most exciting event of the year for Amelia and a significant achievement for a person with Down syndrome.
She was chosen from a large cast of wannabe models to walk in the NZ Fashion Week for an upcoming, edgy label called “Starving Artists Fund”.
To be selected required walking out alone in front of a bank of selectors with clipboards and cameras. Not for the faint hearted, but Amelia strutted her stuff like a pro, both in the casting and again in the fashion show at the Auckland Town Hall a few weeks later.
Subsequently she has had a couple of follow-up gigs, one being an article and photo shoot for Good magazine. Look out for their September issue.
She also appeared on TV twice and featured in an article about her agent – Grace Stratton from “All is for All” – in the Air New Zealand on-board magazine.
Talk about the lives of the rich and famous!
But the year’s achievements didn’t stop there. Amelia progressed so well in her weekly yoga classes across the other side of the city – a train and then bus ride away on a Thursday evening – that by the second half of the year she was invited to join the advanced class.
She also completed two silent residential weekend retreats during the year, both focussed on mindfulness through movement meditation.
Amelia was invited by Recreate to represent their Moxie produce team with her friend Abigail at the NZ Disability Services conference in Wellington and the two won for best market stall at the conference.
She helped man the merchandise stall at Buddy Walk for the second year running and was on the Sales Team for Moxie at several markets around Auckland.
Amelia also continued to participate in Special Olympics Aquatics twice a week with the Central Auckland team.
Meanwhile there was also the ongoing activity of completing her studies and working.
Amelia graduated at the end of the year from the two-year New Zealand Certificate in Skills for Living and Working programme at Unitec, achieving Merit in every unit.
In 2020 she continues to work part-time as a waitress and is in the pipeline for a second waitressing job.
She volunteers one day a week at the Titirangi Community Art Gallery where she helps mount exhibitions and supervise visitors, and two other days with Recreate’s Moxie programme, both in the garden and in the kitchen.
It’s a busy life!