Disability Is Not A Barrier
At the New Zealand registered charity StarJam, opportunities are created for young people with disabilities to learn, develop skills, become more confident, build friendships, and most importantly - be recognized for their talents.
An Empowering Message
StarJam provides workshops in all aspects of performance in four of the main centers of New Zealand. Members of StarJam are known as Jammers, and along with their friends, they are able to explore possibilities in a creative way.
Jammers don't just learn to perform, they also perform professionally at public and private events. The Jammers are talented people, full of passion and vibrancy.
And after watching them perform, you'll never believe a disabled person to be less capable again.
Most importantly, neither will they.
And that is a very important shift in mindset, indeed.
"Through performance workshops, young people's perceptions around their own disability change, as well as the perceptions of those around them. The effect of the young people's performances on members of their audiences is often profound. For many their immediate perception is that the young people can't do it and that's decided before they even begin their performance. But every time a person is exposed to a StarJam performance involving young people with disabilities, it breaks down those barriers and that perception. It generates a shift away from sympathy and pity of seeing the disability, to create a "WOW" instead." ~ StarJam
StarJam is the creation of a brilliant woman named Julie Bartlett. Julie had a brother, named Ross. But sadly, she did not know about her brother at all because he was institutionalized at birth due to being born with Down Syndrome.
Many years later, Ross gave a spontaneous speech at her wedding which was so moving it left wedding guests teary-eyed.
It was at that moment that people started to treat Ross like a real person.
Julie felt she needed to provide an environment where all young people with disabilities felt that similar level of respect and not only that, were appreciated for their talents.
And out of that belief, StarJam was born.
At StarJam, Jammers can wow people with what they can do, and break down preconceived ideas that they can do little.
It's a huge achievement.
Thanks to Ross, who has sadly since passed away, and his sister Julie, we can truly appreciate the talent all people have inside them.
To find out more, visit www.starjam.org.