Difference We Make

Difference We Make

The Difference We Make

Jammers (our young people) and their families are extremely enthusiastic about the benefits they are enjoying after attending a full term at StarJam workshops. For many it’s a life changing experience. Young people with disabilities develop increased capability through developing social and emotional skills that underpin their effective learning, positive behaviour and emotional health.


For many of the young people who enrol in StarJam workshops, this opportunity has led to a significant shift in raised self-confidence and self-belief. Lifelong friends and Hamilton Jammers, Alex and Glen are a wonderful example of StarJam’s transformative power. Alex and Glen attended their first StarJam workshop in 2010 and throughout the years performing in dance and guitar workshops, they have developed incredible self-confidence and self-belief to follow their dreams. Today, they are embarking on a journey of flatting together, an amazing first step towards independent living with a disability.


The chart below traces the changes in the capability of a typical Jammer over the duration of a term of StarJam workshops (approximately eight weeks). For some Jammers visible growth may take longer, but for many parents of Jammers they have considered the speed in which their children’s lives change as being miraculous. This growth in capability is a key factor in monitoring the effectiveness of our workshops. Some of these key measures include self-perception, perseverance, self-control, social competencies, resilience and coping.

“Jade had only been going to the workshops for 8 weeks when she got up and sang a solo in front of around 100 people complete with microphone and back up dancers. I never thought I would see that coming from my shy girl. StarJam pushed her confidence button and a diva has been released”. Janene Laughton, Parent


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’s vision is a world where people with disabilities are successfully and fully integrated into our communities and lead successful lives. Through StarJam’s workshops, community events and gigs we aim to have a positive impact on the wider community. Young people with disabilities experience respect, equality and inclusion, their gifts, talents and skills valued, and their diversity and interdependence recognised. Young people with disabilities enjoy full and active lives in conditions that prepare them for adulthood and are highly valued members of New Zealand society.