House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Statements by Members

Winds of Joy

1:34 pm

Photo of Dave SharmaDave Sharma (Wentworth, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Last week I swapped out my brogues for boat shoes to take part in the Winds of Joy program with students from Centennial Park School. This is one of many transformative programs offered by Sailors with disABILITIES, which is a not-for-profit organisation based in Darling Point providing free sailing programs for children, youth and adults affected by disability or disadvantage. This program is specially designed for children with a disability and uses sailing as a tool to build confidence, self-esteem and new relationships in a team environment. The yachts are specially adapted to accommodate wheelchairs so every student can have the opportunity to steer and learn basic sailing skills.

On board that day, I was joined by a dozen students from Centennial Park School, a school for children who have been diagnosed with mental health problems and other disorders, as well as a number of skippers and trained volunteers to guide and mentor them. It was an extraordinary experience, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to see the students take on unique challenges in a safe environment. Together we created unforgettable memories and gave these children a sense of ownership and achievement in their lives.

I commend the founder of Sailors with disABILITIES, David Pescud, for his visionary leadership, and thank the many volunteers and donors, who have been generous in funding and facilitating this program. I look forward to joining them on the water again one day soon.