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Archive for '2012'

StarJam Jammer given special scholarship

Last night Hon Tariana Turia presented StarJam Jammer Olivia Shivas with an Attitude Award Trust Communication Scholarship at the 2012 Attitude Awards. The scholarship will go towards Olivia’s university studies. Congratulations Olivia!

Here’s Hon Tariana Turia’s speech:

‘Yesterday the red carpet was laid out in Wellington. But tonight, here at the Viaduct  Events Centre, we have our own extravaganza of excellence – a room filled with superstars, with champions; with heroes and trail-blazers.

I want to firstly acknowledge all those possible for making our Sunday mornings magical. Attitude Pictures consistently represents the experiences of people with disabilities in a way which engages the public; educating, inspiring and challenging us all in the space of thirty minutes.

It is an outstanding initiative and I want to congratulate you for the difference you are making in the great sea of public opinion.

This event builds on your precedent, in creating a Gala Awards Night to celebrate achievement and recognise the diversity of people who are working towards a more inclusive society.

I absolutely endorse the intention of these awards, to raise awareness, and to create a new norm by putting focus on the achievements and triumphs of the one in five New Zealanders who live with a disability.

Tonight I have been given the honour of announcing the inaugural Attitudes Awards Trust Communications Scholarship.

This is an exciting example of collaboration, in which a major media company is offering a one year work contract; with a view to increasing the numbers of people with disabilities active in the communications professions including the media.

We all know that an increase in disabled people who are visible in the media will help promote an attitude change amongst the wider community.

This will have huge spinoffs regarding the employment of disabled people; as well have challenging any negative attitudes and behaviours that may still be lingering.

I am totally committed towards doing what I can as Minister, to enable people with disabilities to lead fuller, more independent lives.

And in this respect, I am so proud to acknowledge the scholarship sponsor, the Attitude Awards Trust and its trustees, and to speak briefly about the very first person to win this scholarship.

Olivia Shivas has always wanted to be a reporter; based on her belief that people with disabilities are not represented well in the mainstream media.

Olivia’s pathway to this night has been built upon hundreds of big moments and thousands of small ones. She has demonstrated leadership and success in her schooling; she is a Queens Award recipient; a StarJam Jambassador and now a student of the Bachelor of Communication studies at AUT.

But there is one story in particular, that really made her shine.

Earlier this year, in her role in the Velvet Vocals – a workshop run by StarJam – she came up with a big idea. All the girls in the Velvet Vocals listen to Taylor Swift and sing her songs. So when Olivia found out the superstar herself was coming to town, she got cracking.

She filmed a video of the group; edited it, and sent it off to Taylor Swift’s managers. After many weeks they received a reply – Miss Swift would like to meet the Velvet Vocals in person.

Olivia’s words told me everything about having the right attitude. She said

“Having a disability, I sometimes become so used to being the one that needs help. Whether it’s reaching something on a high shelf or getting help to push myself up a steel hill. And sometimes I do get embarrassed by it. What I got most out of a being a leader that was that I was the one helping someone else. Someone needed my help and expertise. It was incredibly rewarding knowing that my help and leadership achieved our goal of meeting Taylor Swift”.

It was such a wonderful glimpse into the life of a young woman – not yet twenty- and yet capable of gaining an audience with a celebrity; fulfilling a project goal to the last degree; and inspiring, motivating and including the wider group at every stage of the experience.

I know that Olivia will go on to make a profound difference in all our lives. She oozes oomph; she exudes passion and determination and I wish her a most brilliant career.’

Posted in: 2012, In the Media, Press Releases, StarJam News

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StarJam’s 10 year birthday celebration a success

Last night thousands of New Zealanders were part of LiveJam, a performance showcase which linked over 200 young people with disabilities across four cities via a live internet stream and video conferencing.

LiveJam was the first of its kind event run by StarJam, a charity dedicated to empowering young people with disabilities.

The Live Aid-style show was held to mark StarJam’s 10th birthday.

The heart-warming two-hour show was hosted by TVNZ news anchor Simon Dallow and reporter Matt McLean with special guest performances by Ray Woolf, Adeaze, Shane Cortese, Megan Alatini and Ben Lummis.

Dame Susan Devoy, Silver Fern Irene Van Dyk and London 2012 Paralympics Gold medalist Mary Fisher also took to the stage during the inspirational event.

Held at the Auckland Museum Events Centre and the Wellington Town Hall, with satellite party areas run from JamZones for communities in Christchurch and Hamilton, LiveJam was a large-scale showcase of song, dance and instrumental performances.

StarJam founder and CEO Julie Bartlett says LiveJam was an unprecedented success with a sell-out performance in Auckland and a buzzing atmosphere in the Wellington Town Hall.

“LiveJam was the biggest show we’ve put on yet. The children, known as Jammers, and celebrities performed shoulder to shoulder, showing us how music can unite all. Simon Dallow and Matt McLean provided the perfect links between the cities, Jammers and the audience.”

LiveJam took a look back at 10 years of StarJam, which has seen more than 1000 young Kiwis with disabilities go through its performance workshop programmes. StarJam empowers its young performers, allowing them to gain confidence, respect and make new friends – all in a non-competitive and supportive environment.

Coinciding with LiveJam was the launch of StarJam’s first-ever text to donate facility, in which New Zealanders can donate funds to help get more young people into the programmes. Text ‘Jam’ to 3181 to make an instant donation.

With no government funding, StarJam relies entirely on grants and donations.

LiveJam is still available for viewing on www.starjam.org.

Posted in: 2012, In the Media, Press Releases, StarJam News

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