Our Stories

Encore on Stage 2017

One of the most memorable and successful events of the year was Encore on Stage 2017, which was held on 19th February 2017. Participants of our Encore, Viva and Harmonies programs entertained an audience of around 400 community members. They perform a variety of dance routines to popular and contemporary music and their talents and abilities continue to impress the audience.

Jin Im, Diane, Amie, Toby, Julie and Mark each week encourage participants in the various programs to participate and reach their full potential in a supportive and friendly environment. Participants listen to various songs, learn dance steps and then put it all together for our annual concert.

Sarah, a volunteer, plays an important role in the Encore program. Sarah has formed a Signing Choir and teaches interested participants to sign in Sign Language to popular music. Each year Sarah leads the signing choir at our annual concert. The participants continue to amaze us with their ability to learn and express their talents and abilities in a variety of ways.

Our Encore, Viva and Line Dancing programs are so much more than just social and recreational programs. These programs aim to inspire people with disability, encourage their movement and creative talents and enhance personal fitness in a supportive and fun environment. It is also a place where friendships are formed, where skills are learnt and developed, where self-esteem and independence is encouraged.

Thank you to all our volunteers backstage who make this annual event such a wonderful success. Special thanks also to Kath, who volunteers every Wednesday evening, for her commitment and continued support of the Encore program.

Debbie’s Story

Cooking Program NDISMy name is Debbie and I have a passion for music and one of my goals is to become more independent. As part of my weekly activities, I attend a music program that involves exploring and learning about singing popular songs and percussion instruments with a professional music teacher and singer, Paul.

After the music session, I participate in a cooking program. Here I have a choice as to what I would like to cook for my family for dinner. With the encouragement and support of Ryan, my support worker, I look at recipes and methods of cooking. My program involves writing a shopping list and buying ingredients at the shop; food preparation; using utensils, the microwave and oven; and cleaning up after the cooking. I have developed skills in food preparation and like to chop up the ingredients into small pieces. My dad and Jen looks forward to my cooking each Thursday and they says my meals are delicious.

Another goal of mine is to extend my literacy and numeracy skills. I have been building these skills through a range of literacy and numeracy Apps on my iPad. I receive weekly tuition from a staff member and I like writing stories and love the challenge of exploring different spelling programs on the iPad.

Shane’s Story

Shane’s desired goals identified through his person centred plan was to research links to his Aboriginal heritage, via the Internet, and family information. With the support of worker, Shane was able to successfully access YAP, an indigenous organization, where he now learns how to cook, to make art and craft items i.e. he has hollowed out a log painted and waxed his own didgeridoo. Shane now works on making his own music sticks and feels connected to his culture.

Another goal identified by Shane was to investigate option for an exercise program to get fit and lose weight via community links Shane selected to enroll with a local wheelchair basketball association. This has proven to be a big success for Shane by achieving his chosen goal and becoming fitter and has lost weight as well as gaining many new friends in his local community.

Toronto Capers’ Story

02 Toronto Capers(1)

Participants at Toronto Capers are very interested in a range of arts and enjoy learning, exploring and creating a variety of visual arts. Participants discussed and created, with the support of Jin Im and Rosie, a canvas art as a group project. First, we looked at our strengths and skills as well as capabilities to manipulate all resources on the canvas. There were lots of discussion about theme, colour, what resources we needed and how we could do it. We also planned to share and contribute our project to the community by exploring where and how we can approach people to recognise our project. Everyone was very excited to draw and paint their hands using their favourite colours on each of the four canvases. As the project progressed each week, everyone was more excited and impressed. During the process individual participants within the four groups developed and enhanced their self-esteem, problem solving skills, fine motor skills and recognition of space and colours.

Belinda and Annette are very excited to explain to others how we created our piece of creative art. Belinda suggested, and everyone agreed that the name of our project is “Hands of Friendship”. The group art will be proudly displayed at the front foyer of Toronto Multi-purpose centre when the project is completed for the many visitors of the centre to admire.

Daniel’s Story

Daniel, a young gentleman accessing the Community Participation Program, identified through his person centred planning process that he would like to gain work experience in a Garden Centre. New Lake supported Daniel to investigate various options in the local Community. Once Daniel decided upon a garden centre where he would like to gain work experience, contact was made with an interview and orientation date set up. Daniel was supported in identifying special clothing/equipment that he would require to be able to meet requirements for this position in the garden centre. Daniel was supported to attend his orientation/interview when a date for weekly work experience was decided upon. This role at the garden centre has proven to be very successful. With the Daniel feeling a great sense of achievement and satisfaction.

Another goal that Daniel identified through the person centred planning process was to gain work experience with young children. New Lake supported Daniel to investigate options for childcare work within his local community. Once Daniel had decided that he would like to make contact with KU PlayStation in the Merewether area, a phone call was made with a date for an interview to take place. New Lake then supported Daniel to write a short story with attached photo to introduce himself at the interview. Daniel was supported to attend the interview and paper work completed i.e. Working with Children checks etc. Daniel is now successfully attending work experience at the childcare centre one day per week with staff support as needed.

Gemma’s Story

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My name is Gemma and one of my goals is to participate in some voluntary work in a Child Care Centre. As part of my weekly activities, I now go to a Child Care Centre each Monday where I participate in voluntary work.

Gai, a staff member supported me at first, who encouraged and assisted me when needed but now I am confident enough to go on my own.

My voluntary work provides me with the opportunity to spend time with young children in an educational setting. My voluntary work has helped me to build my confidence and extend my social networks. I’m proud of my achievements and look forward to helping the children to participate in their favourite activities each Monday.

I am also part of the group ‘Sing Australia’. We are a group of singers who each fortnight entertain people at Community Centres, Nursing Homes and many other venues. I have a great beat to the music and my role in the group is to play the tambourine.

Mandy’s Story

Mandy, a young lady who attends New Lake peer Support for her Post School Options program on a weekly basis identified through her Person Centred Planning process that she would like to gain work experience working in an Op shop in her local community. New Lake supported Mandy to initially investigate options to gain this type of work experience in her local Community. Once this was completed and an Op shop found that Mandy felt comfortable with, Mandy was assisted to make a call to the Op shop and an interview was arranged. New Lake then supported Mandy to prepare for this interview by the staff member assisting Mandy to write a short essay about her self-including her dreams and future goals. New Lake then supported Mandy to attend the interview and arrange for weekly work experience. Mandy has now successfully built up a rapport with her peers at the Op shop and is able to independently access this work experience every week.

Another goal that Mandy identified through her Person Centred Planning process was to promote good health & well being while making friends in her local Community, she requested to investigate options again in her local Community for mainstream Aqua Aerobics. New Lake again supported Mandy to investigate options in her local Community, Telephoned the Aqua Centre for more information. Mandy then decided what date and time she would like to attend these classes, initially with a support worker. This program continues to be very successful, with Mandy able to independently access this program when New Lake is closed for any reason. Also, Mandy has been very successful in making many new friends and feels totally included in her own local community.

Peter’s Story

04 Peter

Peter is a participant of our Monday evening Music Therapy/Line Dancing group. The program consists of two parts: the first hour is conducted by a professional musician who uses a variety of techniques including familiar song-singing; instrument playing; music listening; movement to music and performance.

The second part of the program consists of Line Dancing. Our workers, Margaret and Mark, teach a series of choreographed steps to participants. The program provides participants with a creative enjoyable outlet; encourages interaction with others; assists with mobility and motor skills and helps build self-esteem and develop new skills.

Peter’s mother said that Line Dancing takes pride of place in Peter’s week. Even when it is time to celebrate a family occasion or to watch the footy, if it’s Monday night and Line Dancing is on, Peter says he would prefer to go to Line Dancing.

Peter had lost contact with some of his friends after retiring from his work. Being involved with the program has enabled Peter to get back in contact with them. Each week Peter looks forward to participating in the music and Line Dancing program, socialising with his friends and has the biggest smile on his face when he participates in the program.

Kelly’s Story

My name is Kelly and I like to participate in craft activities most Wednesdays. A small group of women wanted to learn quilting to make a rug. With the support of Mary Ann, Shirley and Rosie, materials and patterns were chosen and the project began.

I had never used a sewing machine, but had watched my Mother sew. I started my project by sewing squares for my rug. I enjoyed hand sewing and used blanket stitch to complete my squares.  When it was time to join the squares together, my workers helped me to learn how to sew on the electric sewing machine. It was a bit tricky at the beginning but then I learnt and it became fun. I was then able to put it all together to make my quilted rug. I was very excited when my rug was completed and my Mother was very proud of me.

I’m so excited! We exhibited our completed quilt into the 2014 Art Exhibits at the Newcastle Show in March.  WE WON!!!! First Prize! I’m so happy and proud of my work.

Karen’s Story

Karen identified through her Person Centred planning meeting that she would like to investigate options of independent qualified teachers that teach Guitar lessons. New Lake supported Karen to investigate options by looking through the yellow pages and accessing a computer to use Google. Karen then selected a teacher of her own choice and a call was made to arrange an interview to talk about day’s times and fees for the lessons. New Lake supported Karen to attend this appointment and to negotiate a reasonable fee for the lessons. Karen is now successfully attending lessons at the teacher’s studio in the Community once per week. This young lady has stated that she feels empowered, has increased levels of self-esteem, confidence and identity in her local Community.

Another goal that Karen identified through her Person Centred Planning Process was to become involved with some work experience around animals. New Lake supported the Karen to investigate via the yellow pages, internet, local newspapers and word of mouth to gain a placement with Dog-over Board in Charlestown. This placement continues to be a great success for Karen who has stated, “I’m so happy to be doing some things that I truly love to do”.

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