Grant helps StarJam to let disabled really rock

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

The StarJam Charitable Trust has helped hundreds of young people with disabilities to discover new talents and conquer their fears through performance, dance and music.

Established 10 years ago, StarJam has seen about 1000 Kiwi children and young people - aged 6 to 25 - go through its programmes, which offer singing, dancing, drumming and guitar sessions around the country.

The trust is one of 12 charities to receive a $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport this Christmas.

The money will be used to pay for 20 children to take part in two year-long workshops in 2013 - a dance programme in Manurewa and a drumming workshop in Epsom.

There are 30 workshops happening around the country each week.

Chief executive Julie Bartlett said the workshops helped to empower youngsters in a fun and practical way.

"This is a very specific way of empowering them.

"We work in a way that lets them know that anything is possible.

"We have high expectations of them and they know it."

The workshops also helped other family members, Mrs Bartlett said.

"We may have a sibling who in the past has been ashamed or a little bit embarrassed of their brother or sister.

"But they'll see them get up and sing or dance and perform and they feel so much pride for them.

"It definitely has a wider impact on their families and the rest of the community."

Charles Spillane, of Auckland Airport, said the programme was a unique way of helping young people with disabilities.

"We are truly delighted our donation will provide these inspirational young children with the chance to dance and play music and perform to live audiences."

• To donate $3 to StarJam, text JAM to 3181.

- The Aucklander

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