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A Day of Epic Experiences for Young People of All Abilities


The Cube Presents a Day of Epic Experiences for Young People of All Abilities

To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Monday 03 December, The Cube is setting out to dispel misconceptions about young people with disabilities, with a day of epic experiences across Auckland city.

The Cube is a collaboration between disability groups in Auckland which promises to unify and expand existing services for disabled youth across the region by sharing resources, members and greatly enhancing the availability of activities for young people.

Cam Calkoen from the Yes Disability Resource Centre (YES) has been at the heart of the effort to consolidate the opportunities for young people with disabilities. The development of The Cube started with a conversation between Calkoen and Sonia Thursby (CEO of YES) about access to services for young people and the issues that currently arise.

“The Cube’s total primary focus is on the young people,” said Calkoen. “How do we make life easier for the organisations and the young people? One of the massive things that I see to making it easier, what is so hard right now, is exposure. People don't know what’s out there”.

The Cube has been in development for the past two years and marks an important shift from a singular mind-set to a more collaborative model between groups like Carabiner, TouchCompass, PHAB, StarJam Unique Families, and Voyager. Rather than developing a singular space, The Cube is designed to foster better communication and enhanced effectiveness of combined media and events coordination.

The Cube plans to showcase the groups involved on Monday 3rd of December with a diverse selection of exciting events around Auckland. From a Rock Climbing Wall Challenge at Wynyard Quarter to a Dance-Off with the TouchCompass dance troupe, it’s shaping up to be an epic day for the community.

Calkoen says that the Cube is a direct response to cuts to social programs, forcing groups to combine databases, pool resources and increase efficiency. He says that streamlining the experience for young people is only part of the vision of The Cube.

“There will be significant education to society to embrace disability and how to market it”, said Calkoen.

Joshua Fuimaono is a 19 year old from South Auckland who has greatly benefited from the opportunities provided by existing groups like PHAB. Fuimaono has cerebral palsy but jumps three steps at a time, plays laser tag with friends and worries his parents when he runs across the road with his cane. He’s currently finishing a degree in Business from The New Zealand Management Academy.

He says The Cube is only going to pull together all the opportunities and make life easier for young people in the future.

“That’s what The Cube is; all the organisations that provide stuff like recreation and activity for young people with disabilities all in one place,” he said.

“The vision for The Cube for me would be that a kid can just go to the Cube and it would be 100 times easier than how I had to find out about everything.”

Founders of The Cube are eager to emphasize the inclusive nature of the initiative that seeks to welcome fully abled and disabled members of the community.

For 21 year old Vaotane Filemoni, the vision of The Cube is that it grows into a physical space. For now she and her colleagues are happy use The Cube to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

“It’s all about celebrating disability,” said Filemoni. “It’s all about having fun. We just want to be treated like everyone else, and prove that we can do anything.”



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