Have you ever wanted to make a difference in someone's life and help their goals to become reality?

The Rotorua chapter of Achilles NZ is in desperate need of volunteer guides to help their athletes with disabilities train for and take part in sporting events.

The vision of Achilles NZ is to provide New Zealanders with disabilities the opportunity to participate alongside able-bodied athletes in local, national and international events.

Achilles Rotorua guide Faustinah Ndlovu says the local group has quite good support in terms of guides for sporting events, but they are running short on guides so that the athletes can train throughout the week.


"When we don't have guides our athletes are not safe and it puts our athletes at risk, so we really need some more."

Faustinah says anybody can be a guide.

"I've had a lot of people say, 'I'm not fit and not an athlete'.

"I think if they come just once they will see how they can help. I think anybody can do it because we have quite a variety of athletes.

"It's not only those who go for events, there's people who just come for Wednesday walks and we've got athletes at all different stages."

Faustinah says Achilles Rotorua has had good feedback from the parents and family members of the athletes.

She says the feeling of achievement the Achilles athletes have when they finish their goal is amazing.

"The feeling of helping somebody get their medal is just something you can't put into words. People need to come and give it a go and find out for themselves.


"They gain confidence from being role models to new athletes and it spreads out into the community, because it's encouraging other people with disabilities to say, 'oh I can do that too'.

"I really believe that when you light up somebody's life, you light up your own."

Swim-Able instructor and Achilles Rotorua volunteer Maxine Parker says she wanted to be involved with Achilles Rotorua because she believes everyone should have the equal opportunity to participate in things they enjoy.

"It's about transferring the courage they get from participating in sports in to other parts of their life."

She encourages people not to worry about whether they will be able to keep up because guides are paired with an appropriate athlete.

She says guides also do not have to commit to a lot of time and there is no pressure, but that a lot of those who have joined have gone and loved it.

Guides also help raise more awareness to the public about being more considerate of athletes with disabilities, Maxine says.

Achilles Rotorua athlete Tom Tuki says he has been with the Rotorua chapter since it started in 2015 and is visually impaired.

He says he enjoys Achilles because he can become part of mainstream sports, and he thinks it is great Achilles goes right across the board and is available for people with all types of disabilities.

He says achieving goals and events is rewarding and makes you feel good.

Tom encourages people to volunteer as guides because the athletes need support and you do not have to be super fit to help out, with many of the athletes being walkers.

Faustinah says Achilles Rotorua is planning to go to Sydney later this year so athletes can take part in an international marathon.

Achilles is open to people with disabilities of all ages.

For more information on the Achilles Rotorua Chapter, contact Faustinah on (021) 214 3452 or go to www.achillesnewzealand.org/