Treasury of favourite things

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 12:00 22/12/2012

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Sharron Lunn likes to play bowls at the Motueka Bowling Club, and reckons you could too if you brought your own bowls, had a good eye and a strong arm.

Maddie Cornelius likes going to Nelson cafes to "people watch", because it is fun to find new places to eat.

Kellie Colvin's favourite thing is shopping, especially when there is a bargain.

The girls are all students at @yourpotential, a school for people with disabilities, and at their final class yesterday they were presented with copies of a book and DVD they made detailing their favourite activities.

The book and DVD are called We gave it a go, why don't you? and were made through collaboration between each of the 10 students.

@yourpotential, based in Nelson and opened earlier this year, offers programmes for people with disabilities, and behavioural and cognitive difficulties.

Director Harriet Donaldson said the goal of the project was to give the authors and participants the opportunity to come forward and communicate their opinions and thoughts about something close to their hearts.

The students first created a schedule of their week including all their regular activities, then picked two they enjoyed the most. The project gave the students the chance to make choices, evaluate those choices, and collaborate with others, and they had learned a lot in the process, she said.

Having a permanent object they could hold and show to people was important, and would help them have a meaningful conversation about something they have, she said.

"They can take it home and show friends and family and people they might flat with."

This was the first year the school had been open, and she was pleased with its progress, she said.

"We hope to be able to do more next year but it has gone very, very well."

Funding for the project came from Te Pou, part of the Ministry of Health.

Mum Linda Paul, whose daughter Nicola attends the course, said the book was "absolutely brilliant".

Nicola loved coming to the course as it allowed her to make friends and spend time with others, she said.

"She's a very social animal, she just loves these courses."

Student Debra Allen, of Stoke, said she loved making the book.

Her section focused on her love of dance. She dances every week at her gym, and enjoys Zumba, contemporary and hip-hop styles, and the DVD features clips of her dancing.

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- The Nelson Mail

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