Korero with Susan
Jacinda Bear seeks new home
Another of our talented supporters, Ali Wegner, has knitted a selection of hats and headbands in appropriate sizes for our babies, including premature babies. All are available for a gold coin donation at the Centre. Ali makes hats, scarves, blankets to order under her label “hats4ubabe” and will donate ten percent of any purchase to The Champion Centre. Ali can be contacted on 021 101 6350 or email@example.com
Izzy Ashurst, aged nearly 13 and one of our Centre graduates, has the leading role in a short film that has been written and directed by her mum, Gillian Ashurst. 'The Meek' is an apocalyptic drama in which humanity is shown to be on the brink of extinction due to a virus. The film explores the journey of its lead character, who happens to be a young girl with Down syndrome. Ironically, the film was written and shot prior to the current worldwide crisis.
Korero with Susan
Kia ora koutou, ngā mihinui
Well, we are certainly in strange times, and we wondered whether putting out a newsletter right now was appropriate. But then we thought about how important community is, and how we must bolster our support for each other throughout this period to be sure we come through it as strong as possible. Community is, after all, what the science of human development tells us we all need to thrive physically, intellectually and socially; whether that is community within our families and whānau, our broader neighbourhood communities, or our national and international communities.
We would LOVE to see the bears on YOUR bear hunt! Send photos through to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will upload them onto this page. The more the merrier!
Donated iPads from Digital Wings
Five iPads have been gifted, so our children can use them in the Technology Assisted Learning programme. This is a wonderful initiative from Digital Wings, who act as a bridge between the corporate and community worlds. Their aim is to build relationships and make it simple for businesses and organisations to responsibly dispose of their computer equipment at every upgrade. Digital Wings donate refurbished technology to charitable organisations especially within youth education and employment and Māori and Pasifika development.
Computer monitors and installation gifted
The fabulous crew at Haydn, a company that supply and manufacture painting and decorating products, have gifted our team 18 brand new computer monitors. These monitors will replace some of our dated technology that our staff have been working with for sometime. The team were so excited as the equipment was a surprise.
The Centre’s IT technician, Hayden from Rheel IT, delivered the monitors and has been installing them at no charge. Thank you to Hadyn Brushes and the team at Rheel, your generosity is much appreciated.
Keeping our little folk engaged and busy is one challenge during this time. One of our Early Intervention Teachers, Jackie Hancock, recommends this as one way to keep active inside:
The Champion Centre owes its existence to Dr. Patricia Champion, whose doctoral research showed that children with Down syndrome had significantly better outcomes when supported through a partnership between their parents and professionals. That ground-breaking research kicked off a tradition of more than forty years of Champion Centre-based research, practical tools and advocacy on behalf of all children with delays and disabilities nationally and internationally.
We are currently ‘gathering in’ the intellectual property of the Champion Centre to make it available on our website in the form of resources for families and professionals in early intervention. One big project that is already up and ready is an illustrated video interview with Julie Wylie about our Learning Through Musical Play programme. This is a fundraising item for purchase; other materials will be made available for free or for a donation to the Centre’s work. Watch this space as we share our decades of experience during the year.
We recently put a call out on Facebook for any joiners, carpenters or cabinet makers to come to the aid of our cramped office space, as staff were working in overcrowded offices and in less than ideal circumstances. We were fortunate to have four companies kindly answer our call. We decided to take up an offer from Misco Joinery, a long-established family company with an impressive 32 years in business.
We are sincerely grateful that directors Michael Chernishoff and Glenn Colenso, with their dedicated team of designers and joiners have stepped up to the challenge. With a plan to utilise surplus offcuts to cover our floating desks’ project, it seemed like a perfect way to facilitate our needs without leaving too much of a footprint on the environment. Their generous offer to gift the materials, design and installation has left our team very appreciative.
From their cutting-edge Kaiapoi headquarters, the team are focused on continuing to provide great service and quality joinery to customers around New Zealand. The Misco team of over 50 people, have been involved with many projects over Canterbury and the West Coast, with their office in Auckland also providing design services to builders working with Misco products in the North Island.
Being instrumental in realising the dreams of many new home owners across the Canterbury area, Misco are set to embark on more residential renovations and commercial projects in the future, with the same family values and first class service their clients have come to expect. This, coupled with an enviable commitment to their corporate social responsibility, is illustrated in their generous support of organisations such as the Champion Centre.
Misco have now drafted up a floor design and are aiming to start installing the new office fit-outs when we are back to 'business as usual.'
Thank you Team Misco; our staff are humbled by your generosity.
Become involved in a range of 'front of house' and 'behind the scenes’ activities at the Centre and in your community. It’s easy to make a big difference to our Centre children and their families by joining our volunteers. We are putting a small team together and we’d love you to be a part of it.
Do you have:
To chat about joining our Volunteer Task Force, please email Karon: email@example.com
Dylan has worked at Apex Car Rentals as a car groomer, based near the airport, for five years. He grooms and washes vehicles and takes cars to VINZ and to the storage lockup. ‘I love my work!’ I’m an early riser; my alarm goes off at 4.30am and I work 5.45am until 4.00pm, five days a week. ‘I have stayed there so long because I love it. My boss Grant and I are good mates,’ says Dylan as he proudly wears his new steel cap safety work boots, top of the range.
Prior to the worldwide epidemic, Dylan was working more than full-time hours. However he is currently working three days a week until the international tourists start coming back and the business picks up. I ask if he is saving for anything and he says, ‘No, just saving, just in case.’ He interrupts our conversation as he spots Jan Murphy across the room and confidently goes up and says ‘Hi’.
A highlight for Dylan was when he bought his car last year, a Mazda Axela 2010, after passing his restricted driver’s license, on his first time. Then a couple of weeks ago he also passed his full license, first time! ‘I bought myself a new stereo as a reward, one with Bluetooth as the other one just had an old radio.’ At Easter, he was planning on driving down to Dunedin and staying in a motel for the long weekend to catch up with mates. I'm sure he will plan that for another weekend now.
Dylan has a good relationship with his family and every Sunday evening he goes around to his family home for dinner. Unfortunately, his Grandad passed away the end of last year. Dylan has fond memories of Grandad taking him to the Christchurch International Airport when he was younger, to the viewing platform to watch the planes land. ‘They were the days of the old 737-200 aircrafts.’ He has flown with his family to Canada in 2013 and has travelled to Australia several times.
One thing is for sure, with Dylan’s positive attitude and vitality for life, the world is his oyster.
If you have a story to share, please contact our Communications Advisor: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jasmine Butcher, aged 19
Attended Centre from 3.5 months until 4 years
Jasmine arrived into the world, 15 weeks before her due date and weighing only 665 grams at birth. Because research shows that children born this early are at a high risk of developmental delays and disabilities, it is important that their growth and development is closely monitored in the early weeks and months and appropriate therapy provided. Jasmine was therefore referred to the Champion Centre where she and her parents received the level support and advice they needed throughout the pre-school years.
The first day Maree and Norm came to the Champion Centre with baby Jasmine, they found it quite daunting. There were a number of therapists asking them various questions. Maree remembers, just thinking, ‘I just want to get through this first year’.
Jasmine had issues with her left arm and benefitted from input from a physiotherapist who, in partnership with her parents, helped maximise Jasmine’s physical potential. This involved a hands-on session with Jasmine and her parents, including discussion and explanation on how to enhance Jasmine’s physical development through play and appropriate functional activities.
Jasmine’s sessions at the Centre involved both group and 1:1 work. Jasmine was particularly keen on using Reader Rabbit®, computer software that teaches basic skills in reading, identifying shapes, matching objects and letters, counting and using a computer mouse. She struggled with matching things such as patterns and pairs. Jasmine attended Bee’s Knees pre-school, where she also had support from an Education Support Worker from the Champion Centre. Jasmine remembers riding a little bike up and down the Centre hallway around the time she ‘graduated’ and headed to school.
From four and a half years of age, Jasmine was progressing really well and presented no major issues. Her parents have noticed however, that Jasmine does appear to pick up trends a year later, such as socialising with her peers. (As it happened, Jasmine’s milestones were also assessed every few years as part a study into the long-term effects of prematurity, led by Dr Lianne Woodward at the University of Canterbury). Maree feels they were always kept up to date on Jasmine’s progress. They attribute the most important thing the Centre gave Jasmine was getting her off to a good start. ‘By the time she started primary school, she hit the ground running and was ahead of other kids,’ says Maree. Maree and Norm made a conscious decision for Jasmine to attend a larger primary school, that way she was encouraged to make friends, especially as she was an only child.
Fast forward 13 years and Jasmine has just finished her first year studying towards a Bachelor of Degree in Music at the University of Canterbury. She also currently sings in the chamber choir. At the end of primary school, Jasmine took a shine to singing and keyboard lessons soon after. She also took up tap and jazz dancing and piano and singing lessons. While a student at Marian College, Jasmine was involved in drama and the school choir. You could say music and performing arts was in her DNA.
Where does Jasmine see herself in five years? ‘Maybe in the States as a musical theatre performer or on Broadway, either that or I’ll still be living at home saving to go flatting,’ says Jasmine.
Sit back, kick off your jandals, grab a chilled soda and a punnet of strawberries and read what's been happening at the Champion Centre.
From us at the Champion Centre
Jan Murphy, our Centre’s Clinical Practice Manager, has been recognised as one of three recipients of the Westfield Local Hero awards, with a $10 000 grant being given to the Champion Centre. Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the outcome of the public vote determining the three successful 2019 nominees for every Westfield centre. As humble as Jan is, this has been a huge leap out of her comfort zone, to be propelled into the limelight, but Jan was aware of the impact a $10 000 donation from Westfield will have on our families and their children.
With many thanks to the Champion Centre community, who placed their votes and helped make a huge difference to the families of the Centre, this will allow us to keep supporting these children to develop through our internationally recognised model of practice. With over 40 years of dedication and experience, Jan’s attributes and experience has shone through and is admired and highly respected by all her colleagues. As part of the first group of therapists, Jan has a wealth of knowledge and experience which she shares willingly. Jan also shows a great deal of care and compassion for her colleagues.