In the Canterbury LGA there is a recognised need for recreational activities and programs specialised for children and young adults with disabilities.
The Horizon Theatre Company’s ‘Rising to the Challenge Project’ is addressing this need with the help of a $14,450 donation from Canterbury League Club.
This project, based in Wiley Park, aims to provide access to creative and recreational activities to young people living with a disability. Over 100 participants have been involved in this project in a variety of positions from art creators to audience members.
Participants have the opportunity to partake in several theatrical workshops that have positive outcomes for their education and self-confidence. Some of the workshops on offer include drama, puppetry, costume, music and photography.
“I think the connections participants make by being involved in projects like this are the most important benefit. Social isolation and a feeling of otherness have a terrible corrosive effect on a community. Not only do we bring young people living with disabilities together, we try to involve them with people who consider themselves ‘able bodied’. It helps break down a tremendous amount of prejudice,” said Maddy Slabacu, Artistic Director at the Horizon Theatre Company.
On occasion participants have even showcased their talents to the local community including street theatre performances at Canterbury Council’s annual Carols in the Park and at the Rozelle Village Fair.
“The response from parents and carers has been overwhelmingly positive. They have been stunned by their children’s new dedication and interest.”
The project is facilitated by working closely with the Canterbury LGA NSW Police Force and the Lakemba Community Centre Family and Children.
“It is fantastic that we can be part of the solution to a prevalent need in our local community. Through this project, young adults are genuinely proving that they can rise above their individual challenges to be part of something which they can be proud of” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of Canterbury League Club.