18 October 2021

No matter where you work, there’s something about arriving at Friday afternoon which shifts the mindset of an organisation.

Two girls dancing at home. The younger girl on the left has a white dress on. The older on the right has a blue sweater and blue jeans.

The weekend is within reach, and freedom is nigh. We might even go as far to say that - in a metaphorical sense - some of us are getting ready to put our dancing shoes on.

Well at Life Without Barriers that’s becoming a reality for a growing number of staff, who are being invited to join a weekly virtual dance class, choreographed by a spritely 11-year-old, because she wants staff to have fun.

Starring Chloe, and brought to you by Education Consultant Lorna, it’s one of the best circuit breakers going around. The good news is, all staff are welcome to these Friday afternoon sessions, where each week, our energetic host handpicks the theme and music playlist.

Recently inspired by an organisation-wide campaign encouraging a love of literary pursuits called Hook Into Books, Chloe has also been reading to her dedicated and emerging fanbase, and with the support provided by the Education Unit, this imaginative self-starter is now dreaming big.

Image: Hook into books suitcase filled with books.

Significantly, she is no longer missing weeks of school.

Instead, she’s set some lofty goals under the guidance of her Education Consultant, Lorna. She works through a series of mini goals to get there, like getting out of bed, brushing her teeth and making breakfast on those days when she feels it’s too hard.

Chloe says, “If I feel bad, I’ll talk to someone about it, and if I still feel bad, I can talk to the principal.”

The approach seems to be working a treat. Chloe’s attendance rate has gone from 30% to approximately 90% within six months, and she’s already settled on her future profession.

“I want to be a lawyer when I grow up. I don’t think I’m going to be a lawyer. I know I’m going to be a lawyer."

Her empathy for others is already at work. Chloe has been in out-of-home care for most of her young life and came up with the idea of introducing dance sessions for people who were feeling gloomy in lockdown, “especially foster kids who don’t get to see their mum.”

That includes Chloe herself, who hasn’t been able to visit her mum for several months. At the end of one of the classes, she shares joyfully with her audience that, “last Monday I was screaming and crying that I got to see my mum for the first time in ages, and she brought my puppy!”

If you are impressed by Chloe’s initiative to hold dance classes, wait, there is more. At the ripe old age of 11, Chloe has already held her first fundraiser, baking brownies and cupcakes to donate funds to a horse rescue sanctuary. She has raised a total of 100 dollars.

Now, back on the dance floor, she’s calling on all of us to gather and support one another, while issuing a simple request: just laugh and learn the moves! *Name and photos changed to protect children in care. 

Hook Into Books™!

Supporting Children and Young People to build bright futures through education and learning “Everyday Everyway”.

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