Achievement Over Adversity – Lunch 4 Language

Below is the speech presented by CHI.L.D Association Chairman Ray Hartzenberg at the 2012 Lunch 4 language:

“Achievement over adversity”. I place these three words front and centre of our gathering today. “Achievement over adversity”.

I am very proud to chair the executive committee of the Child Association and in addition I am the proud parent of a son at the Glenleighden School. It is my pleasure to welcome you all to the CHILD Association’s Lunch for Language 2012. 

 

The Lady Mayoress, Mrs Anne Quirk

The Minister for Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Mrs Tracey Davis.

 Mrs Jane Prentice  MP, Member for Ryan and our local federal member.

 Cr Krista Adams, representing the Lord Mayor.

The Minister for Education, Mr John Paul Langbroek

The Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mr Scott Emerson

Our guest speakers today, Glenleighden old boy Sam and his mother, Sarah Smith

Executive Principal, Mrs Vikki Rose Graydon

Heads of programme: Cae Ashton, Belinda Fisher, and Tracey Langton.

Former executive committee members, Dr Beverley Rowbotham, former chairperson, Mrs Margot Hickey former secretary,

Members of our executive committee, Mrs Wendy McTainsh

Our dear parents, friends, ladies and gentlemen. 

My opening remark was “Achievement over Adversity”. This is the motto of our school as well as the CHILD association and it is a motto that sums up so much of what we’re about.  Not only do we assist our students and clients achieve, and indeed over achieve, in the face of their language disabilities, but our organisation, also has to overcome significant adversity in fulfilling it’s mission and in delivering it’s services.  As a not for profit organisation we are not unique in having adversity to overcome in our work, but we do have unique adversities to overcome. No longer is CHILD merely a good idea, or a “nice to have”, but it has become an organisation on which many depend therefore making it an essential organisation. The short and long term consequences of not having an organisation such as ours are indeed serious. 

One of those adversities we face as an organisation is in the inconsistency in the definition of primary language disorders across the different states of our country.  There is significant inequity in the funding for language disabilities compared with other disabilities; an example of this is in early intervention funding. The result of this that we receive less than what we would consider to be our fair share of the funding pot, leaving us to make up the difference.  Inevitably this difference has to find it’s way to those who can least afford it, and those who have their hands full coping with children with language disabilities. I refer of course to our parents. 

We strive to and we have no choice but to provide high quality holistic services to our students and clients. In addition to a myriad of programmes, we also provide teachers and their aids, psychologists, physiotherapists and even music therapists. But these come at great cost to the organisation and we have to carefully balance passing on those costs to our parents so they’re able to afford them, after all our parents have no other choice but to place their children in the Glenleighden school and pay the fees in order to do so. Many of us would prefer to have our children in the state run main stream school system but we simply don’t have that choice. 

It is our mission to support all children with primary language disorders, and we reach out to regional Queensland to do just that through our Let’s Talk Outreach programme. We have limited resources and limited funding to do this but we do the best we can, our people do a great job, but there is so much more that we need to do in this regard. 

We need to support research in a way that delivers meaningful results for our children, we need to support staff with ongoing professional development, and let’s not forget our families who, like their children, need our support in their complex journeys through the minefield a primary language disorder. This is part of our holistic approach and we have to fund it. 

 

Our organisation had small beginnings and today we are of significant size. In spite of this our executive committee is still made up entirely of volunteers, and they are constrained in what they can do by their other priorities such as family, career and the like. Members of the executive committee give up their spare time, take time off their full time jobs, miss out on time with their families and if that’s not enough, often make cash and other donations to the organisation. They are a fantastically selfless bunch of very talented people and we are fortunate to have them on our side, and it is a privilege for me to lead them.  

One aspect of our organisation that is not an adversity, but an enormous positive, is that our Executive Principal, our heads of programme, their staff and all the other staff across the organisation, are immensely passionate about and committed to the work they do. I know this from firsthand experience, this is not hearsay, and I’ve come to this conclusion after months of careful observation on my part and after numerous discussions with the key players. Just yesterday, we honoured two staff members who between them have racked up 27 and 20 years of service respectively. And it is these good people who are doing the job of delivering and delivering tirelessly, relentlessly and to the highest standard, the services that are so essential for our children while at the same fulfilling CHILD’s mission. Thank goodness they don’t let adversity get in their way. Today you will be witness to the fruits of their hard work when you hear our guest speakers. 

So in spite of our adversities, CHILD today is a healthy, well functioning organisation that is proud of it’s achievements. For me therefore, today’s L4L is not just our major fundraiser for the year as important as that is, but also a celebration of years of achievements and successes, and an opportunity for us all to all feel proud of our organisation. We have many battles ahead but the achievements and experiences of the past have provided us with the most stable of platforms from which to launch into the future. Achievement over adversity will remain business as usual at CHILD. 

I know you will all reflect on what your individual contribution might be and partner us as we head into the future. 

So once again, welcome to L4L and thank you for your attendance today. I hope you enjoy the afternoon and find a chance to make some new acquaintances. Please take the opportunity to say hello to us and share your thoughts, we would love to hear from you. 

Thank you

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