Volunteers AIM for maximum community involvement

From left, Adults in Motion volunteers Jane Blackbourn, Janet Barruel, Nicóla McLeod and Daniel Tricklebank.

Watching individuals with disabilities develop is the inspiration that has spurred Jane Blackbourn on to 10 years of volunteer service at the Warkworth charity Adults in Motion (AIM).

AIM was started in 2006 by Sally O’Mara who saw the need for a facility to take care of her disabled son once he finished at Mahurangi College.

It currently caters for 12 disabled participants with varying needs and operates weekly from Monday to Wednesday.

Jane’s son Matthew became involved with AIM six months after the organisation started and Jane became treasurer in 2007.

Her role involves dealing with contracts from the Ministry of Social Development, funding applications, grants and employment contracts.

In addition to her financial work, she helps with the transportation of participants to their monthly disco and helps teach them gardening skills on her Snells Beach lifestyle block.

“Our programme focuses on setting goals for participants around learning life skills and also learning literacy and numeracy if they are capable,” Jane says.

“Our biggest goal is to get them contributing to the community.”

Participants do this in a number of ways including running the Homebuilders shop in Warkworth once a week and helping with the donkeys at Highfield Garden Reserve.

“I find it very rewarding seeing participants develop over time. It’s nice to be involved with that progress.”

Jane also enjoys working with a team that is dedicated and passionate about the work AIM does, which can be challenging.

“All of the participants range in their needs, so you have to be patient and accept them for who they are.”

AIM tries to cater its service to help the participants in the best way possible by sending surveys for comment to their families and giving them a voice at meetings.

Two volunteers offer specific skills once a week – Nicola McLeod teaches sewing and Daniel Tricklebank does one-on-one computer lessons.

Other volunteers are the six committee members, including Jane, the chair of eight years, Alan Smith and recently joined Janet Barruel.

Can you help?

AIM’s biggest need is funding, which would go towards increasing the programme to four days a week.

“The area is growing and to offer our service to more participants we need to be operating four days a week,” Jane Blackbourn says. AIM is also looking for people who can offer participants an opportunity to engage in a community activity or work experience.

“We are always looking for jobs that our participants can do that will help the community, as well as fundraising initiatives they can participate in.”

Jane says working with AIM participants requires patience, enthusiasm and a good sense of humour.

Info: 09 425 5643.