Art and Woodwork
We have several art sessions in house a week, as well as us heading out one afternoon a week to an art base in the community. We also have a group who regularly visit the MENZ Shed in Naenae for woodwork. We have completed a range of projects, including constructing a model of Petone and creating a Thumbs Up Art Trail, where we produced a number of paintings which were framed and hung in local businesses. At MenzShed we have completed individual projects such as a clothes airer, a jewelry box and a storage chest, just to name a few.
At Thumbs Up we run both group and individual cooking activities. We have a small group who cook a Friday lunch as well as groups that are readying themselves for heading out flatting who are learning how to follow recipes and safely prepare food. In addition to this, many people have goals based around learning basic food preparation skills and receive one-to-one teaching of these skills.
Thumbs Up has contracted Claire Hewitt from Igniting the Creative Spark, for a number of years to run two in-house drama groups. Drama provides an opportunity to explore our individual creativity in a safe and fun environment and is much enjoyed. Drama sessions are high energy, full of laughs and provide plenty of practice for the inner actor/actress within each of us to come out!
Check out this link to see all of the amazing drama activities that Thumbs Up and Claire were working on up to December 2018. creativespark.nz/…ews/2018/12/13/coconuts
The Drama crew are currently in the process of filming a Cowboy film which they wrote themselves. Keep an eye out for Good Will Triumph.
Communication and Literacy
In 2015 we secured funding which allowed us to bring in Inclusive Communication Therapist Shannon Hennig. With Shannon, we have developed communication goals for every person who attends our service. Shannon also runs multiple weekly literacy groups with different focuses for different people and needs. One group Shannon runs is called the Switch Group. This group focuses on using buttons and switches to support communication for people who have limited verbal communication. Members of the groups are given lots of activities to practice reading and writing skills, as well as ways to communicate and find out information in the wider community, such as emails and phone calls using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) where necessary. We have even been able to head out to a local cafe and order our own drinks! In addition, these sessions provide the opportunity for Shannon to get to know individuals better, offering more opportunities for communication and engagement.
We see communication skills as a key link in the chain of a good quality of life and we are proud of what is being achieved through the communication skills program.
Music is one of the most popular activities in our center and we offer it in a range of ways and in a variety of settings. We start each day with a music circle which provides a nice space for settling into the centre and the day. John Paul Young, our music therapist, runs several music groups throughout the week, focusing on aspects such as relaxation, participation, self-expression, turn taking and many other skills., as well as providing 1:1 sessions for those that want it. In the community music sessions we visit other organisations and places in the community to share our music, and through music we interact socially and build friendships with others.
We see music as unique in its ability to reach almost everyone. It is easily one of the most popular activities at Thumbs Up and we continue to develop ideas around how this amazing tool can be used in different ways.
Community Inclusion and Engagement
One of our key focuses at Thumbs Up is the inclusion and engagement of people in their own communities. We strongly believe that participating in and contributing to your community in various ways is an incredibly important element to achieving a high quality of life. We aim to spend at least 50% of our time away from the Thumbs Up hall.
Included in community inclusion are various roles which provide opportunities for contribution. To this end we are proud to be a part of the Meals on Wheels program which has run for many years. Some people do work experience placements in local community agencies such as the Petone Library, Kaibosh, Settlers Museum and Ngeru Neko (Cat Cafe). These roles are valuable in building relationships between our service and others in the community while also enabling relationships to be built on the personal and individual level.
Sports & Recreation
Our program looks at multiple different sports and recreation activities. Over the past couple of years there have been many sports activities, from community sailing with Sailability (which is a much loved activity by all who engage) to weekly tramping/walking, challenging those taking part to develop physical skills and fitness. For those who prefer water based activities there are a number of swimming based groups who head to Huia Pool to make use of their hydro therapy pool as well as the main pool. There are many smaller sports/games groups that are run at Thumbs Up and at the local parks in the warmer months. The are also gym groups which head out to the local gyms. We also attend the Remutaka Gym Sports every 6 weeks or so which has been an awesome experience and has provided a space to build on many physical skills such balance and coordination. Once a year we also get together with Ignite Sport and run a day course at Brookfield Scout Camp where we do a number of fun activities from team games to zooming down the flying fox.