Stand Up Paddle Boarding for Deaf Children Australia or SUP4DCA has just been launched, aiming to raise $60,000 to support children and young people who are deaf and hard of hearing and living in rural and remote areas. These children and their families often need to travel to major cities in order to seek services such as educational support, developing Auslan skills (Australian sign language) as well as other fundamental learning skills. These trips can be both timely and costly for their families.
Adventurer Thomas Dunn will be Stand Up Paddle Boarding Australia’s longest continuous waterway spanning 5 rivers across 4 states in 3 months, heading off in February 2017. Tom’s 3,600km journey will begin in Warwick, Queensland, and end at the Murray Mouth in South Australia.
This journey has been inspired by his younger sister Cate who was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at birth and has grown up with just a maximum of 12 per cent of hearing in her good ear. As Tom says, their parents Pat and Jane never took a backwards step providing Cate with every opportunity she desired to reach her potential.
Reach Out to More Isolated Children
Deaf Children Australia is so grateful to the SUP4DCA team – Tom and Ashlee Garwood – who are working so hard to raise funds and awareness so other children and young people like Cate can receive the support they need. With the funds raised, DCA plans to expand the video mentoring and language services available to reach more children and young people who are currently isolated.
The VidKids pilot program we were previously involved in has proven that through the sophisticated new video education technology we have been trialling, DCA has the capacity to reach out to children, young people and their families in the most remote communities across Australia. By being able to interact on screen, our team of dedicated support workers has helped children and young people develop their Australian Sign Language (Auslan) skills. We have helped them bridge the communication gaps so they can access allied health services. We have been there as mentors – to listen, understand and guide. Now we have the tools to remove the tyranny of distance and enable personalised support – and we want to continue to connect deaf children with other deaf children, and families to other families. We just need this additional funding to make it happen.
Building on Earlier Success
In 2014, Tom kayaked the length of the Murray River for Aurora, a deaf kindergarten in Melbourne, Victoria. This was an organisation close to Tom’s heart. Weekly twelve hour round trips to ensure Cate got the assistance she needed at the Early Intervention Centre in Melbourne, was just one of the many sacrifices the family made to provide Cate with every opportunity to reach her potential.
Whilst the trip was a major success, having done all the marketing, planning and paddling himself, Tom knew that if he was going to do it all again, he would need some some assistance. Whilst living in Lake Louise, Canada in 2015, the SUP4DCA journey idea formed. However it wasn’t until meeting a work colleague (Ashlee Garwood) that the idea took off. With Tom’s passion and ideas and Ashlee’s marketing background, the charity that is SUP4DCA quickly formed and has become what you can see today!
Please get behind SUP4DCA’s amazing charity event for DCA