Expo to show disability doesn’t mean no ability

Living with a disability isn’t stopping Briana Timbers and Chrissy Couper from achieving their goals.

The second annual Let’s Celebrate Ability Expo at Carinity Fassifern Community Centre in Boonah on Tuesday December 3 will demonstrate how disability shouldn’t be an inability to realising your dreams.

The expo, held on the International Day of People with a Disability, will showcase the talents of locals like Briana and Chrissy who are kicking goals while living with an impairment.

Boonah singer-songwriter Briana, who lives with autism, has found her voice at the Carinity Fassifern Community Centre.

She has gained self-belief and self-confidence performing her original songs to an audience at the weekly Musical Connections group at the community centre.

“Before I was just sitting at home writing my songs and I didn’t think I was going to take them anywhere,” says Briana, who has had her songs broadcast on local community radio.

“When I came here (to Carinity Fassifern Community Centre) I had to be more social and I had to sing my songs out loud, and I’ve realised it makes other people happy as well.”

Chrissy is thriving with assistance from Carinity’s Bunderra disability support service in Boonah.

Despite living with dyslexia and Asperger syndrome, the Kooralbyn resident has published her first fantasy adventure novel, Alexander Hazard and the Mysterious Orb.

“I’ve had a few struggles growing up with Asperger’s, learning disabilities and dyslexia. I used to write all my sentences and numbers back-to-front,” Chrissy says.

“It took me over 10 years to write this book. I had to get a text-to-speech application on my computer to read my words back to me because I can’t read properly.”

The Let’s Celebrate Ability Expo will also feature interactive workshops including hands-on decorative terracotta pot classes, sculpture making with artist Rachel Gillow and card making tutorials run by Kylie Thompson.

The expo will also include giveaways, the launch of Sam’s Community Carwash, and stalls for social services for people with a disability in the Fassifern and West Moreton regions.

The community centre’s onsite Community Café 11, run by hospitality students with the disability, will be open and serving scrumptious food.

“Carinity’s vision is to create communities where people are loved, accepted and supported to reach their full potential,” Carinity Fassifern Community Centre Community Development Coordinator Samantha Caves says.

“We recognise that inclusive supports and learning opportunities are fundamental to improve opportunities and independence for everyone, regardless of age or disability.”

Chrissy says Carinity has “made me feel like I am a part of a family”.

“It is a wonderful feeling to feel Iike someone cares enough for you to help you be who you want to be and live how you want to live,” she says.

The Let’s Celebrate Ability Expo will be held at Carinity Fassifern Community Centre, 4 Little High Street, Boonah on Tuesday December 3 from 10am to 1pm.

Entry to the expo is free. For more information phone 5463 2966 or visit the Carinity Fassifern Community Centre Facebook page.

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