Ralph St Staff, Community Support Worker

I am a community support worker in Victoria.  I have worked for Community Living Victoria since 1988.  I have also worked at Glendale Institution fulltime for 8 months.  I was happy to hear that one of my Glendale co-workers had taken on the task of creating a PEERS venue that would keep the people that lived at Glendale in touch.  That was particularly important to their families.  As the community became more inclusive PEERS morphed into Friday Namaste Music. 

Namaste hosts a music program that has the Victoria Arts and Music Community merging with the adults and high school aged children for a fully inclusive experience with the audience becoming performers.  We have famous Victoria Band members jamming and playing requests and back up for the people both on and off the stage.  Totally accessible. 

The last day of the week can be such a transition for our folks as they head into their weekend.  We see family members come and watch the show.  I see everyone checking in with each other and making plans for the next week.  You see people hugging, laughing and performing. 

Since the suggested donation is $2.00 this allows for many people to attend that normally could not.  Victoria wide support workers are looking for ideas that fit the budget and ability level of our clients.  It is awesome to see the skill level and friendship expectations being met in such an inclusive environment. 

If there is a way to change the structure of payment so it fits the policy of your infrastructure we would happily comply so a large number of the Victoria population, even some not physically in attendance, can continue to benefit in such a positve way.

In doing so we will come full circle.  NAMASTE needs to be rescued  to continue the dream of a venue where our past history of Community Inclusion comes to fruition.  Namaste - where the light in me recognises the light in you. In music, In Friendship, in sharing the responsibilty of an inclusive community, I urge you to hold fast with us.

Laura Morrison