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Recognising young leaders of all abilities

YOUNG students involved in the Future Leaders All Abilities program have graduated at a community celebration at Southern Support School in Howrah.

Young Leaders of Tasmania (YLOT) chief executive officer and founding director Keren Franks said this was a wonderful achievement to all students involved.

“We are very proud of this program and its very positive impact,” she said.

Year six to 12 students from schools across Hobart have been working alongside students from Tasmania’s largest special needs educational facility Southern Support School.

The students undertook core activities throughout the course of the school year including building relationships, setting goals, evaluating and reflecting on leadership and sharing their experiences.

Mrs Franks said YLOT was about giving Tasmanian youth the best opportunities for personal growth within a safe, structured program.

“We have been thrilled to witness firsthand the positive impact upon the lives of everyone involved,” she said.

Launched in 2017, YLOT is now a statewide initiative that seeks to transform the lives of young Tasmanians, change community perceptions of disability, encourage inclusion and increase workforce participation in the disability sector.

“This is very much a partnership with schools, families, government, councils and the broader community,” Mrs Franks said.

“It is a program that benefits all involved – the future leaders gain leadership experience through personal growth and the students with disability form buddies and meaningful relationships with peers their own age.”

YLOT participant Lottie Frohmader, 16, thanked the program for providing such a valuable opportunity.

“It has allowed us to grow, connect, empathise and be part of something that is so much greater than ourselves,” she said.

“This program has reiterated how important it is for us to be mindful of the language we use, to challenge and re-evaluate our assumptions regarding disability, to recognise and address the inequalities that are entrenched in our society.

“I believe that YLOT can assist in improving the lives of people with disability.”

For the graduation event, students, teachers, families and the community came together to celebrate achievements, raise awareness and strengthen community ties.

“We are excited about the future and look forward to supporting our young fellow Tasmanians of all abilities to be the very best they can be,” Mrs Franks said.

Caption: Future Leaders All Abilities Program graduates at the community celebration at Southern Support School.