Joshua's Kelly Chair
Joshua’s was an appeal like no other.
While we always run appeals that aim to raise a specific amount of money to purchase specific items for a specific child, just like Joshua’s Appeal, we usually don’t have a class full of amazing year nine students taking on responsibility for raising all those funds!
In June, 2011, in what we hope will become an ongoing schools program, the year nine students at Footscray City College ‘sponsored’ Joshua’s Appeal for us as part of their Community Action Program.
Joshua is one very cute 5-year-old boy!
Suffering from a range of conditions including cerebral palsy, an intellectual disability and seizures, Joshua needs support in all areas of his daily living and relies on a wheelchair for getting around. Although he can’t sit up on his own, he doesn’t let that stop him – he loves being on the floor where he’s figured out a way to pull himself across the room on his elbows to get to where he wants! Joshua can say a few words but mainly uses a communication book to help him in conversation with others.
He lives at home with his wonderful family: parents Tracey and Chris and older siblings Nathan and Daniel.
Joshua is very social! He loves company and greatly benefited from the time he spent in 3 and 4 year old kindergarten – making some really positive gains in relation to his interaction with other children.
It’s very important that Joshua can keep up this positive interaction with other children his own age. So in 2011, not only had Joshua started at Belmore School (a terrific school for children with disabilities), but he’d also be en enrolled to start at a mainstream school one day each week. Joshua’s parents want Joshua to have the same opportunities their other two sons have had without his disability being a barrier – and we couldn’t agree more. It was a very exciting time for the whole family.
Joshua’s Occupational Therapist had visited the school to make sure that everything was in place to make Joshua’s attendance go as smoothly as possible – and sheds recommended that Joshua have a special chair bought for him. Without it, Joshua would have to sit in his wheelchair all day and, since that won’t fit under a classroom table, he’d also have to sit on his own at a separate table. But, as with most pieces of disability equipment, the chair – called a Kelly Chair – was very expensive.
We all thought that it would be so much better for Joshua if he could sit at a classroom table with all the other kids and so, through this appeal, we hoped to raise the $1,125 needed for the Kelly Chair.
So the Year 9 Footscray City College kids set to work to see how much money they could raise in 4 weeks – with the intention that any extra funds that they raised over the required $1,125 would be donated to our general fundraising account.
The college’s Community Action Program is value driven; where respect, caring, giving, empathy and trust are integral. The project with Joshua was a perfect fit with those values – and would continue to enhance the school’s community connections. For the kids that participated it was real and engaging and a very practical way of making a difference.
It was with HUGE admiration and pride that we were able to watch the kids raise an incredible $2021.60!