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PREMIER’S VOLUNTEER CHAMPIONS AWARD WINNERS

A team of young men and women who attend IOE’s adult service in Lilydale have good reason to celebrate. They have been selected to receive the Teamwork category award in the 2018 Premier’s Volunteer Champions Awards. They will be presented with their award at a formal ceremony at Government House on Sunday, 9 September 2018.

The group have been participating in the Planned Activity Group (PAG) program which has been running from the Lilydale adult site for the past two years. PAG evolved from the desire to involve participants in more community based programs where they could get a real understanding of what it is like to have the responsibilities that mirror actual employment. The skills they have learned at PAG are a great experience and a starting point for future opportunities.

Jessica D, who oversees PAG says ‘Every Wednesday participants cook a two course meal for a group of around fifteen senior citizens who meet together for social outings, games, arts and craft, bingo etc. This started as an Italian community group and has expanded to accommodate other members. Sometimes, there will be Italian music on in the background, people are speaking Italian and we are eating pasta and you can totally forget where you are for a moment.’

During the running of PAG over the past two years there have been a number of group member changes to accommodate various program timetable changes. Originally there were two groups taking part in the program but with staff and time changes this has reduced to the one group currently operating. Whatever the membership, participants have all really loved being involved and the senior citizens appreciate the effort that they put into the meals and have built special relationships with the PAG team members. Before the IOE group came along the elderly citizens were getting meals on wheels!

Chelsea and Sarah are two of the award winning team who have continued on with the program.

Chelsea says being part of PAG has given her skills in the kitchen she can use at home to cook for her mum. She is learning lots about different foods and cooking methods

Sarah’s skills are utilized outside the kitchen where she helps set the table and prepare the dining room. Even though she does not usually help with cooking she is still a valuable member of the team.

Other award recipients who were participating in the program at the time of the award selection are, Josh, Kaisha, Dominique, Ben, Briony, and Terry

Jess says ‘We love this program and the connections we have made through it. This is what day service activities are all about; experience for future employment and upskilling for life, being a valued member of our community, building relationships, being respected and working hard.

Congratulations also to our current team of Simon, Steph, Chelsea and April, who are continuing on the valued work of the winning team.