Young people living with a disability empowered through Challenge programs

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Becoming independent is an important step for every young person. The Challenge Community Services ‘Connexions’ program helps young people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 35 learn important life skills such as how to cook, how to apply for a job or how to budget. Additionally, Challenge offers recreational activities specially designed for young people.

Connexions Tamworth Supervisor Aaron Hoad says, “Connexions covers both group activities and one-on-one supports. We offer a weekly group activity program running from Monday to Friday along with individual supports tailored to each young person, which are available 7 days per week and any hours that are required.”

National Youth week is about encouraging young people to share their ideas and have their voices heard on issues of concern to them. Connexions provides young people with an opportunity to express themselves and also contribute to the community.

“The staff at Connexions are always eager to listen and embrace new ideas. We are not only actively involved in work experience with local businesses, but we also allow for young people to participate in volunteer work. This may include helping out at the local marsupial park or raising donations for One of a Kind.”

For young people living with a disability under the age of 18 and still attending school, Challenge Community Services offers a ‘School’s Out’ program in Tamworth. This program embraces the idea of forming a routine to allow for a thriving learning environment.

The School’s Out program includes after school activities from Tuesday – Friday throughout the term along with mentoring nights and school holiday supports. The weekly after school activities for Term 2 include; Horticultural Therapy Program, Kids in the Kitchen, Fans of Fitness and Creative Kids.

Challenge’s School’s Out Coordinator Ben Noble says, “The School’s Out program is where peers can develop relationships and achieve goals in an environment based on capability building.”

“We actively encourage young people to express their thoughts and have their voices heard, we are constant advocates for them. By allowing them to be themselves, we see positive changes in young people on a day-to-day basis, and because of this we strongly support National Youth Week.”

The newest addition to the School’s Out program is the mentoring nights which are designed to focus on a specific topic and educate teenagers to help them with life skills.

The two upcoming mentoring nights include:

Reconciliation - Friday 24th May
Monday the 27th of May – Monday 3rd of June is reconciliation week. Young people will be involved in a range of activities including Aboriginal art and traditional cooking that allow staff to educate on social acceptance & the meaning of ‘Reconciliation’ and its importance.

A Taste of Royalty - Friday 21st June
The Queen’s birthday is nationally celebrated during June. Young people will engage in art and crafts based on the Royal Family and prepare a High Tea to share whilst engaging in a group discussion about this tradition.

For more information or to enrol in the Challenge Connexions and School’s Out programs, please contact
1800 679 129 disabilityservices@challengecommunity.org.au

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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 700 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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