Today we started our day with a shopping trip to Woolworths to stock up on lunch supplies. As the Wildlife park has a BBQ area we decided to get some BBQ foods to cook ourselves. We headed out to the Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek. While there we each got to hold a real life Koala which was scary but also exciting! After holding it we discussed how light and fluffy it was, as we were expecting it to be heavy. We continued to see lots of other animals, the Monkey's were most of our favourite exhibition, one of them took some food right out of Jaxon's hand. The baby pigs were very cute also. We saw lots of baby animals including a Joey upside down in its mother's pouch. When we stopped by the lake for a rest from walking, we learnt about lots of different species of ducks and birds.
After walking around all the enclosures and visiting the animals, we were glad to sit and cook our BBQ lunch, Jaidyn especially enjoyed the caramalised onions! The day went really well and everyone enjoyed seeing the variety of animals alongside their friends.
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be matched with Hugh. In just a short period of time we have developed a great friendship and bonded over a shared love of Football. We catch up on a regular basis to chat and kick the footy around down at the local oval. Hugh’s passion for the game is immense. I look forward to staying mates for a long time to come.
Jodie- Hugh’s mum
"Ned is a kind, gentle and patient individual who always goes out of his way to try to visit Hugh at our home every week or so to catch up and have a kick of footy to practise Hugh’s kicking and marking skills. Hugh treasures this time with Ned and always looks forward to their regular meetings. When Hugh is unable to see Ned in person, he also enjoys communicating with Ned via text or email. These are great skills for Hugh to develop. Paul and I have noticed an improvement in Hugh’s skills and confidence since meeting Ned. This is wonderful to see as this helps Hugh to develop his life skills both at school and socially.
My name is Damjana and I have been paired with Maddy for almost a year. We have become the best of friends during this time, seeing each other every 2 or 3 weeks. We like to do girly stuff like shopping, movies and beach walks, or more exciting stuff like bowling and the footy!
Maddy loves telling me about school and her family, and I look forward to seeing her and being able to just hang out with a very special friend.
Stephanie came into the lives of the Day family as a young 4 year old in the summer of 2005 – 06. She now has turned 11.
We started off seeing Steph for a casual afternoon visit; this quickly progressed to a sleepover & before long the regular catch up was a full weekend (i.e. 2 nights). In school holidays this expanded to 3 or sometimes even 4 nights.
Stephanie has provided a lot of warmth & humour into our lives.
She is naturally outgoing, beautifully mannered, respectful & a delight to be around. We have done a number of activities over the last six and half years (e.g. Outings, playgrounds, swimming, ten pin bowling, birthday celebrations, etc.)
She has mixed well with our immediate & extended families plus enjoys the chance to meet new people, often giving a hug to previous strangers!
Stephanie reminds us to be mindful to live the “Now” – too often we look back or too far forward, but having Steph around ensures we focus on present moments.
Nonetheless, she has a good memory for recalling things that have amused her from years gone by (e.g. singing of nursery rhymes, twisting on ones ear whereby tongue pokes out, etc).
The Interchange program is a Win, Win for all. It gives the family much needed Respite from the daily care that they need to do with their child; it has helped our two daughters, us as parents & extended families & friends understand the world a bit more. Plus play a small part in helping out; and finally the child gets the opportunity to experience new friendships.
"I joined Interchange as a volunteer in the teen companion program in mid-2009. I was matched with Thea, who is one year younger than me and lives close to my suburb.
We discovered we have similar personalities and became good friends quickly. We have now been friends for five years and in that time we have become very close.
I am so grateful to be a part of Thea's life; she is a beautiful young woman with a heart of gold. We see each other fortnightly but keep in close contact throughout the week. We enjoy going to the cinemas, going shopping, and having lunch or dinner together. I thank Interchange for giving me the opportunity to make a difference in somebody's life, and for giving me an invaluable friendship that will last a lifetime."
Looking back over the time I have been with Interchange, I find it difficult to believe that a quarter of a century has passed!!!!!
So many changes have occurred - governments have changed, politicians have come and gone, we’ve all grown older, the world has been affected by joy and sadness – but through it all, Interchange has continued to do what it was set up to do – make a difference in the lives of children and young people who have a disability and their families who care for them
It has been a wonderful experience to meet with families and volunteers who are so committed to making opportunities happen for children and young people with disabilities, to have a great life and be involved in their community.
I have worked with great colleagues, (including Chris Walsh for 22 years,) who all share/ed strong 'Interchange' values and contributed to a supportive team environment. Having worked with the late Anne Gates who was one of the founders of Interchange in Adelaide back in the mid '80s, I know she would be pleased with what the organisation has achieved over the years and how it has developed in today's more competitive world,
Working in partnership with our volunteers – who I believe contribute in making Interchange's programs' truly unique, is something I hope will continue and will keep offering young people the opportunities to share in community life, fun and friendship.
Many thanks to you all for making this such a wonderful job - so good, to stick around this long and maybe awhile yet.
‘We love hanging out with Tahlia! She is a bundle of energy and that really rubs off on us when we see her and all we want to do is play and have fun too. She is up for almost any activity and has her own style and originality that always makes us smile. She is an absolute pleasure to spend time with and I hope we'll be able to experience many fun and new things with her.’
I did not expect at the beginning of my placement that I would get as much out of the experience as I did. Prior to my placement I didn’t have any real interest in working within the field of disability however, being a volunteer with Interchange has really changed that for me. Now the idea of working in disability is a real possibility for me to pursue as a future career choice. The experience as a whole not only gave me invaluable knowledge and skills for the future but it was also such a rewarding experience. Feeling like you’re making a difference in someone’s life is just so rewarding and amazing.
Mum said: “It’s nice for them to have an outing where they can be with other kid’s that are similar and get to experience things they wouldn’t normally have the chance to. It also gives me a bit of break and some free time that I can spend my daughter.”