NORTHCOTT Disability Services will urge the Moree community to see a person first and not their disability at the inaugural Walk with Me event next month.
As ambassadors for Walk with Me Colleen Priestley and her three-year-old son Murri are leading the charge to raise awareness about the importance of social inclusion and to encourage the community to get involved.
“I think people often think children with autism don’t want attention and that they’re okay to do their own thing, but just like everyone else they need friendship, companionship and support and not to be isolated,” Mrs Priestley said.
“I want Murri to be a part of the mainstream community and I want to show the community that autism is not a barrier.”
This is just one of the common misconceptions that Mrs Priestley, Murri and Northcott Disability Services are working to break down in line with this event, which focuses on individuals and teams walking alongside the clients Northcott supports, getting to know more about their abilities while breaking down the barriers and stereotypes that surround disability.
“I’m doing Walk with Me because I want to support Northcott because they have been supporting me so much,” Mrs Priestley said.
“Everyone should definitely get involved because disability is a big issue, with so many people living with disabilities and needing support.”
Part of a national initiative, Moree will be one of 20 locations across Australia hosting a Walk with Me event and one of four in NSW.
The community can get involved by either registering and participating in the walk or sponsoring a participant.
“Walk with Me is a wonderful way to promote an inclusive society, which really reflects the purpose behind Northcott’s existence. To spend time and even form a friendship with someone living with a disability will go a long way in breaking down barriers and misconceptions,” Northcott Disability Services CEO Kerry Stubbs said.
Supported by the Moree Champion, Walk with Me will include a range of activities and entertainment for people of all ages and abilities, like a didgeridoo performance, cultural story telling, school band performances, snow cones, a coffee van, face painting, a barbecue, and even bagpipes leading the walk down the main street.
All money raised locally from Walk with Me will go towards funding Northcott’s respite services in the Moree region, which provides children and adults with disabilities the opportunity to enjoy various activities with peers in a similar situation, while their carers experience a break from their demanding role.
The event will be held at the Criterion Centre from 10am to 2pm on September 7 and people can get involved now by registering their support online at www.walkwithme.org.au