Team Ability is an after-school sports program that is increasing inclusion for teenagers with disability in Swan Hill.
Every Tuesday a group of students from the Swan Hill Specialist School meet in their school hall to attend the Team Ability program. There they participate in a range of different sports; football, basketball, swimming, netball, tennis – you name it, they’ve probably played it!
Team Ability was started seven years ago by The Tipping Foundation’s team in Swan Hill after parents in the local community complained there were no sporting opportunities for their children.
“When we first started kids were going to sporting clubs and they were getting knocked back because of their disability,” said Billy, Local Area Coordinator at The Tipping Foundation.
At the start it was just Billy and one other team member running the program, but a lot has changed since then. Sports clubs around Swan Hill are now contributing to Team Ability by teaching the teens a range of sports.
The Woorinen Youth Girls football team regularly works with the students to develop their football skills. “They each have a buddy for the whole session, so instead of it being their side and our side they’re working beside each other and working on their skills together,” Tamara, who runs Team Ability, said.
It’s these types of relationships with local sports clubs that have helped reduce discrimination and increase social inclusion for teens with disability in Swan Hill.
Many of the teens involved in Team Ability have gone on to join sports teams with their non-disabled peers.
“When we first start they don’t really know the rules of the game, but by the end they’ve learnt and they can go out and play with their local club,” said Sean, who runs Team Ability with Tamara.
Throughout the seven years that Team Ability has been going, Billy has seen a positive change in the community.
“The local sports clubs are really engaging and willing to engage in this program now. They tend to know what we do at Team Ability and The Tipping Foundation,” he said.
Team Ability isn’t just about sport, it’s about being part of a team and being included – something that every teenager, regardless of disability, should be entitled to!
The team behind Team Ability recently won the Outstanding Team Award at The Tipping Foundation’s Staff Excellence Awards. Congratulations to Sean, Tamara (both pictured), Caleb and Sarah. We can’t wait to see how the Team Ability continues to grow!
To find out more about community access, recreation and training – click here.