Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 22 May 2012
Page: 5106

Mr MATHESON (Macarthur) (21:50): I want to take this opportunity to congratulate more than 120 members of my community who took part in the Envy Personal Training Winter Charity Challenge last week. These locals braved the cold to take part in training sessions over four days to raise more than $6,000 for a local charity called Everyone Can Dance. Everyone Can Dance is a not-for-profit organisation based in my electorate that supports young people in Macarthur who live with a disability. The group organises social and respite outings for people with disabilities and aims to help them overcome obstacles to become active and equal participants in their community.

Today I would like to pay tribute to the president and founder of this charity, Tara Grech. It is hard to believe that Tara is just 24 years of age. She was only 20 when she started organising events for charities to support people living with Down syndrome, autism and cerebral palsy in the Macarthur area. It started off with a disco for children with a disability to raise money for several charities including the Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Autism Spectrum Australia. In 2010, when she was 22, Tara decided to start her own charity and registered Everyone Can Dance, which now supports many families in my electorate. When Tara started the charity she asked local parents what their needs were, so she could cater for families in Macarthur. She said the main issues bought up by local parents were socialisation and respite to give parents and carers a break from the 24/7 care for their children. So Tara started holding art classes for people with a disability aged five to 30 to give parents a break. She is now extending her programs to include parent support meetings and workshops while their children are taking part in the activities. Tara had a big inspiration to start this charity. Her brother David, who is now 22, lives with cerebral palsy. Doctors told David's family that he would never walk and would not be able to live a normal life like other children, but he proved them all wrong. David goes to the gym every day and he even drives a car—what a fantastic achievement. He lives every day to the fullest and is an inspiration to other people in my community who live with cerebral palsy.

Tara said she was driven to help local families after David had trouble getting involved in sports and other social events because organisers were worried about insurance. He was apart from the community, not part of the community. This is why she wanted to start a charity that would give people living with disability the chance to socialise with others and take part in a range of fun activities.

As you can imagine, Madam Deputy Speaker, Tara is very passionate about her cause, especially the need to raise awareness in my community so that everyone will be treated equally, whether they have a disability or not. Tara said her main goal for the charity remains the same today as it was on day one—to improve socialisation for people living with disability and respite for their parents or carers.

While art classes and social outings are currently available, Tara also wants to implement a program with local sporting groups to help them include people with disabilities in their sports teams and clubs to help combat obesity. This is a young lady with a very big heart who has dedicated her life to helping those less fortunate be more confident, self-reliant and involved in our community.

Of all of Tara's aspirations there is one I admire the most. That is her goal to improve community acceptance and perceptions of people with disability. By breaking down these barriers Everyone Can Dance is enabling people living with disability to interact and participate in community events, to be more confident and independent in any field they pursue and to live full and rewarding lives.

The charity raises funds through donations, fundraising events, membership and sponsorship. Events like the Personal Training Winter Challenge on the weekend will help the charity to organise supervised outings and events and provide individuals and their families with support services. I attended the final day of the charity challenge on Saturday and was very impressed by the number of people who took part.

Rob Mann and his team from Envy Personal Training organised the event and did a great job bringing so many people and businesses from my community together. It was great to see people from all walks of life and many different fitness levels take part in the challenge. From teenagers to senior citizens, fitness fanatics to the not-so-fit like myself, small business owners and many local residents—they all had a great time competing for a great cause.

This was a fantastic example of my community coming together to support each other, and I felt very proud of all their efforts. Even the local media was represented in this charity challenge by Krista Thomas from C91.3FM, who put in the hard yards for her team and gave some of the blokes a run for their money. Local photographer Sharon Robertson also donated her time to take photos for the charity. Sharon is a lovely lady who is well known by my community for her involvement at many community charity events across Macarthur.

This is why tonight I have done one of my favourite things in this parliament and praised the generous spirit of giving that is alive and well in the Macarthur community. Times may be tough, but the people of Macarthur are always willing to help those less fortunate than themselves, and that is something I am very proud of.

I would also like to thank the following local businesses and individuals who supported this event: Landcom, Simmons Painting and Decorating, Platinum Personal Training, Splashbacks with Glass, DNM Designs, Camden Valley Inn, Naked Tan, 21st Century Pest Management Services, Club Cycle, Sports Spirit Narellan, Liz's Hair Stop, Ultimate Paintball and Pat Farmer. (Time expired)