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Whittlesea’s day of inclusion for people with disability

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

By Pam Kiriakidis

Inclusivity was the theme at Whittlesea Showgrounds football oval on December 5 with schools, City of Whittlesea and services creating memories for International Day of People with Disability.

Students from Diamond Valley Specialist Development School, which shares a campus with Whittlesea Secondary College, bonded over ball games with Whittlesea Junior Football Club and Whittlesea Cricket Club, and guide dogs from Vision Australia were much-loved by the students, staff, and police.

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Focusing on inclusivity, Whittlesea Junior Football Club former president Steven Pyle showed students from prep to 12 football skills, with a view for the club to hopefully introduce an all-abilities team in the future.

“There are [all-abilities] leagues, they actually play football, and a lot of it is all over the southern suburbs, so I’m going to speak with the Northern Football Netball League and work with the council,” Mr Pyle said.

He said an all-abilities team would benefit everyone at the club.

“I think it’s important for our kids as well to integrate with kids with disabilities,” he said.

The event was an opportunity for the students to meet many community representatives, including police, Whittlesea Fire Brigade, Whittlesea Playgroup, Whittlesea Men’s Shed and Whittlesea Lions Club.

Diamond Valley Specialist Development lead teacher Caitlin Winther said the event was another illustration of the Whittlesea community opening their arms for people with disabilities.

“It’s important to say that everybody has different abilities, so it’s nice to have them out in the community, and have the community come and join us,” she said.

“We’re pretty lucky, we are very welcomed to the community at Whittlesea, we’re always out in the community.”

Interacting with Diamond Valley students, Whittlesea Secondary College integration coordinator Helen Heaney said the celebration was to increase awareness for all types of disabilities.

“Inclusion is so important as well. Our school being involved [here] is good. We’re here with the Diamond Valley students, so we’re together, celebrating,” she said.

“I think it’s recognising that disability has many faces, and sometimes disability is hidden, so it might be intellectual. We value our kids with only what they have to offer.”

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