When the Johnathan Thurston Academy set up the JTEmployment Facebook Group last month, we were hoping to engage our followers and empower them in the jobseeking process. One of the first conversations was started by follower Justin Jackson, who had recently met Johnathan Thurston on his live speaking tour.
We discovered Justin can not work due to ill health but wishes to become a journalist in the future. So we asked Justin if he would be happy to volunteer his time writing an article for the Academy, and as you will see from his words below – we think he has a natural talent. Below Justin shares his experiences and conveys how Johnathan and the Academy has inspired him to volunteer his time and pursue his dreams.
I first heard of the Johnathan Thurston Academy last year on the news and it certainly piqued my interest. I thought it was the perfect opportunity for JT to give back to the community after serving as Bulldog/Cowboys, Queensland and Australian representative.
After attending the show in Brisbane and meeting Johnathan himself on December 9, 2018, it made me think just how much I wanted to help out in the Academy, even if it was just on a voluntary basis. I used to be a student at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland studying politics, justice and legal studies and law. Having a disability, I was already under pressure to perform well and I had the bar set high on becoming a Crown Barrister for the Department of Public Prosecution when I was struck down with a life-changing illness that ended that dream.
Visiting the Cowboys stadium with my best friend in 2015 and watching the Cowboys take on the Sharks on 27 June 2015, really gave me the motivation to want to do something with my life. I might not be able to study or work medically but I keep myself active by writing my first novel, working on a thesis paper I started at university, keeping active at the gym while also volunteering administrative skills for my local state MP.
I have one dream that I would be able to study a Diploma of Journalism so I can become the state political reporter or a crime reporter. Unfortunately, I cannot afford the financial situation to take out a loan to do so, so that’s where volunteering comes into play.
The JT Academy gives not only people like me hope of obtaining qualifications, but also those from different cultural backgrounds. It is possible, no matter where we may come from, money is not always the answer, and I do believe that the Academy speared by one of the greatest NRL players of recent history, will boost both schooling and working attendance rates across not only Queensland but Australia.
I look forward to seeing the Academy soar to new heights and grow strength to strength in the years to come.
A great way to gain experience, network, build confidence and give back to your community is to volunteer your time in areas you are passionate about. Australia would not be the great country it is without the many volunteers who do amazing work every day.
Are you a JT Academy Star? Get involved by sharing your stories with us.