SOCIAL isolation has been put on hold thanks to the enterprising efforts of 20 proactive young Tasmanians.
The innovative school holiday program led by Young Leaders of Tasmania (YLOT) saw the young leaders “buddy” with students living with disability to deliver personal one-on-one and group activity sessions online.
Activity packs were created and sent to young people in the program so they could participate with their buddy in workshops, such as art and cooking, while being connected on video conferencing.
“Young Leaders of Tasmania is very proud to be a part of this incredible ground-breaking program,” YLOT chair Tegan Pearce said.
“It is wonderful to witness firsthand the positive impact that young people can make in the lives of others, especially at such a difficult time for everybody.
“These young people have proven that while we are physically distanced, we can still be socially connected.”
YLOT chief executive officer Keren Franks said its aim was to deliver the virtual programs and enable buddies to continue to spread inclusion and friendship even when apart.
“The planning for a holiday program began in late February and then we were immediately hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to think creatively about how we could continue the program and support the important connection between students and their buddy,” she said.
“Our goal was to stay connected to ensure that social distancing did not lead to social isolation.
“The online activities were facilitated by local organisations, including Second Echo Ensemble and Chefaholic, further building upon creating community connections.
“YLOT is thankful these organisations were so willing to give this innovative program a chance during a challenging time.”
Participant responses were overwhelmingly supportive.
“I loved getting the activity box delivered the day before and looking through it all, and getting everything out ready on the day,” Maya Womersley from Lenah Valley said.
“I loved cooking the yummy biscuits.”
“Even though we are physically distant, we are still able to connect emotionally and socially,” participant Lottie Frohmader said.
“It has been amazing to see everyone’s faces and feel less alone at home.”
For more information about the program or Young Leaders of Tasmania, visit YLOT at www.facebook.com/YLOTas, or phone Ms Franks on 0428 640 320 or Ms Pearce on 0419 055 422.
Caption: From left, Ryan Robbie from Hobart with his biscuits and Josie Holdsworth enjoying the online art activity at home in Mt Nelson.