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The success of Renee Harvey living with Tourette Syndrome | Workbridge

Renee developing her goals on a vision board at Workbridge office

The success of Renee Harvey living with Tourette Syndrome – written by Nicola Zielinski

Supported by Nicola Zielinski and Belinda Harte at Workbridge

Renee Harvey, a familiar face in our Nelson community lives with Tourette Syndrome and has one of the most severe cases in New Zealand.

Just before Renee contacted Workbridge for support to find paid employment she had ground-breaking surgery which reduced the effects of her physical and verbal tics.

Renee not only had her disability as a barrier to finding employment, but she also had the responsibility of looking after her son Neko being a solo mother, so she had a lot of things to take into consideration.

Renee was supported by her consultant Nicola Zielinski at Workbridge and her initial goals were to work with people
Local café “Robert Harris” got straight on board after they heard Renee on The Breeze radio talking about her journey to find work and offered her a trial shift to see how she would get on in a busy, front of house position. Renee did her trial shift what we call a “working interview” and wowed the team at the café so much that she secured a paid part-time position. Renee worked there for around 2 months, made lots of new friends and very much enjoyed this experience until she developed some further complications due to her Tourette Syndrome.

Some of the initial support consisted of confidence boosting, techniques to reduce anxiety along with learning how to dress appropriately for a job interview.

Thinking outside of the box in December 2018 Nicola decided to arrange an experience in a local “Hummingbird” recording studio owned by musician Bryce Wastney. Nicola realised that when Renee sang her tics reduced and her confidence blossomed. During this experience things escalated into Nicola and Bryce collaboratively writing a song for Renee to which she then performed at the Playhouse in Mapua and then recorded and released on Spotify and iTunes. The song is called “This is Me”

Renee built up her experience of working in the community in so many ways including volunteer work for “Sarah’s Shuttle Services” and volunteer work as a singer at “Presbyterian Support”. This allowed Renee to develop her CV and gain new references as she embarked into the world of paid work.

Finally, in August 2018 Renee moved into a new paid position for “Healthcare NZ” where she is a support worker for a client that has a brain injury. Renee is finally living her dream of helping others and doing a fantastic job at balancing life between work and being a solo mum. Renee completed her 12 months of post placement support with Workbridge just before our nationwide lockdown due to Covid19. Belinda Harte and Nicola Zielinski remotely connected with Renee to wish her all the best of luck for her future. Anything is possible now for the wonderful Renee Harvey!

Renee performing live at the Playhouse in Mapua with Nicola Zielinski (Nic Zee) and Bryce Wastney

Renee’s single “This is Me” written by Nicola Zielinski (Nic Zee) and Bryce Wastney

 

 

 

 

 

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