A Place To Belong

July 29, 2015

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I have a vision for the world, one where everyone can find a place to belong. I get so excited when this becomes more of a reality. An inclusive world to me is more than just a person being included, It’s when an individual becomes an integral part of something.

Cal, a young man who would be familiar to many at IOE, joined MISFIT Theatre – a youth run theatre company based in the Yarra Valley, in 2014. At first MISFIT was very full on for Cal, and he was quite shy and unsure, the group was daunting, as it would be for anyone – with 37 teenagers, all passionate about performing, its utter madness. But slowly Cal learnt how to be in that space, and now is one of the biggest personalities in MISFIT.

Currently about to return to the stage for his 4th show*, Cal has found a passion and a way to shine … and boy does he shine! He is an integral part of the group, without him, aspects of the show would fall apart, plus who would supply the jelly beans and sass.

In the 12 plus months since he joined, MISFIT has become a place for Cal to express himself and feel supported and the young people in the group have welcomed him in with open arms. I started MISFIT in 2009, with the vision of creating a place for everyone to feel safe and supported, while working together to achieve something. And seeing how seamlessly the group has taken Cal in, makes me extremely proud of them all. This to me is what all inclusion should look like. Whilst this all happened independently of Interchange- this is something I want to see happening more and more in the community and for me sums up why I am so passionate about my job, as one of Interchange Outer East’s Activ8 Program Coordinators.

Activ8 is all about inclusion and community. We support young people (ages 6-18) to be a part of their community, in the way they want to be. That support may be for them to be able to do work experience, learn how to catch public transport so they can access a group they want to be a part of, or even support to be able to independently be a part of their local scouts or theatre group. By working with community, the community can learn how to support the individual, and the more this happens the closer we will be to that vision.

*The Circus at the end of the world, MISFIT Theatre’s next show is performing on the 1st August at The Memo in Healesville at 7:30pm and 7th & 8th August 7:30pm at the Warburton Arts Centre. Tickets $15 – Concession $10

by Sarah Ward

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