Letter from a young deaf young man who came on JoLt’06
I would like to write this letter to express my thanks for all the work you have done for JoLt and for the wonderful experience you gave me. I imagine that the journey around India and Bhutan that we completed will be the highlight of my life. I enjoyed it so much, the activities, the sights, the food, the culture, but the best part was definitely the people.
For someone like me; who had never properly known another disabled person before, let alone a deaf person, to meet 24 other disabled or disadvantaged youngsters was a very important learning experience for me. Some of those people became great friends and I have a new sense of motivation to succeed in life.
I feel more confident now to meet new people, try new things and to realise that being partially deaf does not put a barrier on my dreams. Even though I have always been treated the same, I have always felt different from my friends. But now I'm proud to wear hearing aids, and even if there was an operation some time in the future to fix my hearing I don't think I would change myself.
I am at University now, and I feel that JoLt has been of enormous help in showing me that I can manage to be independent; to manage my time effectively etc but to also work as a team.
The team spirit on JoLt was amazing; I have never experienced anything like it. Everybody looked after each other and helped out and we achieved so more by working together. I am forever grateful to you, all the leaders and to the JoLt organisation for the 'journey of a lifetime' of which I will always remember as a special, inspiring and happy occasion.
Looking forward to seeing you and the rest of JoLt at the reunion, Love.
E-mail from a young carer who came on JoLt’04
I am sorry that it has taken me this long to get in touch with you. I have been extremely busy with my college work but mainly 2006 has not brought us much luck. Back in July I lost a very close friend of mine who died in a motorcycle accident. That was a very sad time for me and for the weeks that followed I was put on anti depressants for a while. I am glad to say that I am off them now.
Then on the 26th November I lost my beloved brother who had cerebral palsy. He had a heart attack due to the amount of infection in his lungs and he was put in a coma for three days, then on the third day he left us. My family has been put through a lot this year especially with the death of my brother and it has been very difficult to cope. Thankfully my dad’s epilepsy has not got any worse and he still only has fits on a monthly basis. My mum is still forcing her way through life with her head held high. She is such a strong woman and believe me she is the bravest person I have ever met. My mum takes life by storm even without her sight.
I had a strange feeling not long ago when I was watching the x factor on television and one of the contestants sang ‘my way’, which was the final song added to our JoLt’04 DVD. It just made me realise how much I missed everybody and with everything that has gone on I have been unable to keep in touch with everybody. I would be most grateful if you could send me a few addresses or phone numbers so I could keep in touch with some of the most amazing people I have met in my life.
May I ask how all the other leaders are? Alan is such an amazing man while we were away and he was my shoulder to cry on and the one who pushed me to do the things I was afraid of. Ali was there to make me laugh playing silly games on the coach trips. Shirley was fantastic a true inspiration. Stuart well what can I say the musical minded one again he made me laugh. Martin was again someone to laugh with but he also gave some good advice and he helped me out a lot through certain moments on the journey. Claire and Livvy were there to make sure every one was safe but they were such great people to talk to and everyone of you made the trip worthwhile. And last but not least you the leading lady who allowed us to follow our dreams and taught us that there is no such thing, as “I can’t”. I hope you all are well and I can’t wait to see you all again.
Anyway on a finishing note I would love to be there for JoLt’s silver anniversary (and your 60th of course). May I say that you should be very proud yourself and the things that you allow disadvantaged children to do. I admire it with all my heart and I would love to follow in your footsteps someday and making the dreams of younger ones come true. So for now have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic new year and I hope to hear from you soon. And I will look forward to seeing you in the near future. Love XXX
From a Mum whose daughter with Sticklers Syndrome came on JoLt’06
The opportunity to go on a Journey of a Lifetime came at just the right time in my daughter's life. She was becoming an angry teenager not easy to communicate with and developing quite a chip on her shoulder.
When not angry she was bordering on being depressed. She had just cause for this in a way dealing with quite a bit of pain and feeling very isolated in the sixth form but whatever she tried she was seldom included.
The JoLt trip turned her round and gave her the confidence to "get in the driving seat" (her exact words) and to be back in charge of what she wanted to do. She left the school she had attended for 6 years and took herself to College in a nearby town. Changed some of the A level subjects and now takes the bus on her own, but most importantly made some new friends.
Perhaps this does not sound a huge change but when you are severely vision impaired it was quite a challenge to leave what you know, where you are well known and well supported to start again. This was due to the confidence she acquired on JoLt and the amazing people she travelled with. So a big thank you to JoLt for helping at just the right time.
From a participant on JoLt’04 through Thailand, Cambodia Vietnam and Laos,
I thought the least I could do to show my appreciation for the most incredible month of my life was to spend time writing this letter…… I know I have hugely benefited from the trip. I have made some really good friends and I can now get to sleep anywhere! But most of all, witnessing all of that poverty (especially the rubbish dump on the outskirts of Pnom Pehn) has put everything into perspective, it made me realise how lucky we are in Britain. I’ve seen and heard of similar situations on the TV but it doesn’t have the same effect as actually seeing it in real life. I’ll never take anything for granted or be fussy with my food!
I have learnt to grab every opportunity that comes my way. Up to now I have never really let my disability affect things but after this past month I have really proved to myself that despite being wheelchair bound, with someone else to help with the daily things that my disability will not allow me to do, I can still visit other parts of the world and experience other cultures and traditions.
After this past month, I believe that as you travel you take a bit of each place you visit and each person you meet to build yourself into a more interesting, knowledgeable, confident and unique character.
From a young woman full-time wheelchair user
Before I came on this journey I always thought I was restricted to things I could and couldn’t do after I was diagnosed with Hyperlaxity Syndrome. I also found it hard to talk about my Dad dying but when I met someone else on JoLt who had been in the same situation as me I found it very easy.
I have never been in an aircraft never mind a helicopter. It brings tears to my eyes to know that you, and a lot of other people involved in JoLt, have made every dream I had come true. But you are the one that started JoLt off and I’m sure you’ve made a lot of people like me, very happy and a much better person. JoLt has marked me forever and you are a very special person to me. I can’t thank you enough Dorothy I just hope you carry JoLt on, to let other dreams come to reality.
From a young woman who travelled through the Middle East with JoLt
I never did get a chance to say a big thank you to you all. JoLt has changed my life. You were my family for a month, and I have never met such a caring group in my life.
People in school have all said how confident and assertive I have become. I have changed in a big way. I have matured and have a wider outlook on life, I am very optimistic. You have helped me in so many ways I feel I can be myself, and if I want something bad enough, I can make it happen.
Ever since JoLt I am willing to give anything a try. I have done more this past year than I have ever done in my life. I actually go out and do it instead of thinking about it, thank you again.