I am Ruth Cromer. I am 47 years old. I live in Randwick, Sydney.
After I left school I did courses at TAFE as I wanted to get a job. But there were no jobs. I felt unhappy and disappointed. I felt left out. So, I did volunteer work. I did meals on wheels with my grandfather and worked in the coffee shop at Mary McKillop Place and gave talks to schools about my life as a person with Down syndrome.
I always wanted to be an actor and did drama classes with the Australian Theatre for Young People. I got a role in A Country Practice and then House Gang for SBS. And did the play A More Fortunate Life which went to the Adelaide Fringe Festival. And got roles in training videos about rights and going to court.
In 1997 SBS sent me to Sweden to promote House Gang and then went on to Madrid to the World Congress on Down Syndrome and presented a paper. I was then invited to Japan by the Japan Down Syndrome Network to speak at their conference at Osaka University. I was the first President of the Up!Club and was on the advisory board of the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability. In 1998, I was the winner of the Young Australian of the Year NSW Arts Award, for my work as an actor and as a community educator.
When I was 28, Job Support offered me a permanent part-time job at St George Bank in their Head Office in Kogarah. And I have been in this job for nineteen years! I am a team member in Home Ownership Services and do clerical duties. I like the work and I like the people.
I now have my own flat near my parents. I enjoy cooking but do healthy bliss balls and muffins and no sugar! I like going to the gym, doing Latin American dance lessons, shopping and having coffee with friends and going out with the Up!Club.
I would like to say to people with Down syndrome to just carry on. Don’t let it worry you. Just do your best!