Who is Zane McKenzie?

...and why is he a Community Educator?

“Everything is harder, but nothing is impossible”

These are the words that I hope to leave ringing in the ears of the audiences that I present to as a member of the Scope Education Team.

But for me, this is not just a message, and it’s not just something I say. The truth is, it’s something that’s taken me a while to discover.

My name is Zane McKenzie.

I am a husband and a father of three boys. I am a singer, songwriter and musician. I am a two-time premiership football coach. I was once a finalist in the Young Australian of the year awards. And yes, I have cerebral palsy – a physical disability which affects movement, posture and coordination.

Yet for over 15 years, I have been a preferred speaker, MC, and educator for a range of functions hosted by various organisations on both small and large scales.

So why am I community educator? It’s a good question, and there are many reasons. However, one in particular stands out.

I see on a daily basis the issues faced by people with disabilities, and understand the barriers that exist to creating a more accepting, accessible and welcoming community.

So, I want to make a positive difference.

But more than that, I think it’s important to share what I have learned. Not only through living my life, but through my colleagues!

You see, the Education Team is made up of approximately 15 people. Some of us have a lived experience of a disability. Some of those disabilities affect the person physically, and others affect the way that a person learns. Some of my colleagues have a communication difficulty. But they all have some things in common. They are all fantastic people, with unique skills – and they are all great presenters in their own right.

Together as a team, we visit businesses, organisations, local governments, community groups and schools to deliver training and give participants the confidence to interact in a positive way with people with a disability.

As an educator, my role is to challenge the perceptions and stereotypes often linked to people with a disability.

I challenge thinking.

I change behaviour.

I like to think I empower people to look beyond a persons’ limitations, and truly “see the person”.

I have always said it, but my team has taught me to DO it! And trust me, these are two very different things!

If you would like to find out more about how a Community Educator like Zane can co-present disability awareness training at your workplace, contact Scope’s Communication and Inclusion Resource Centre on 03 9843 2000 or circ@scopeaust.org.au