Nothing is impossible for the team at Creative Abilities. Not only did they recently put on an Ancient Egypt-themed stage production, they all pitched in to create the entire set, props, and costumes.
“We never define people by their disability. Our clients are great characters and they are all individuals,” says Julie Renner, who has been at Creative Abilities for eleven and a half years. “We like to have fun here, and everyone deserves to have a good life with choices. I love my job.”
Located in a roomy studio space in Auckland’s North Shore, Creative Abilities supports people with disabilities to have opportunities, and to live as independently as possible in the community.
Training is mandatory for all 110 Creative Abilities Life and Wellbeing Supporters. “We’re really committed to training. We take it very seriously, and it makes a huge difference. We want our team to be qualified and to be providing the best possible support to our clients.” Julie has worked closely with Careerforce Workplace Advisor Denise Mackres over the years, but Creative Abilities are now self-sufficient on the training front. “We’ve tailored the level 2 and level 3 training to meet the needs of our service, which works well.”
Creative Abilities support workers are called ‘life and wellbeing supporters’. The focus is on enabling and empowering people to live good lives, and to be given opportunities to experience life in all sorts of ways. Arts and crafts are a big focus.
“We have annual productions, the clients get involved in wearable arts, making jewellery and we do all kinds of activities,” says Julie.
“We all have potential. Nothing is too hard,” says Julie. “We just get on with it. Everyone involved had a great time creating Egypt! We all had a blast at the event.”