Anna Bay Public School Year 1 students love their visits from the ‘Lifestyle Buddies’ at Lifestyle Solutions’ Port Stephens Community Hub. Through its Adult Day Program, the Port Stephens Community Hub’s dedicated team helps people with disability develop friendships, skills and confidence to pursue interests and community connections. Community Support Worker, Kelly Riding, facilitated the volunteer program now affectionately known as, ‘Lifestyle Buddies’ which has been a huge success for students and Lifestyle Solutions’ customers.
Once a month, 5 participants at the Hub volunteer at Anna Bay Public School’s Year 1 class assisting with maths classes. Kelly said the program has been running for 3 years, and everyone really looks forward to the day.
“The benefits for the people we support have been immense and they are now confident enough to develop and present their own programs with the students. We also incorporate travel training, where customers can learn about reading timetables, familiarising with themselves with transport routes and using their Opal Card to get to and from the school,” said Kelly.
Mrs Allan, Year 1 Teacher said, “The participants and students have been able to work together and form many positive partnerships. There is a strong focus on developing empathy and tolerance, which are the keystones for successful teamwork and healthy relationships.”
The volunteer program has been a great way to foster an inclusive, supportive culture based on respect and understanding and is looking to expand into other local schools next year.