By Natashya Fernandez
Personal Advocacy Service (PAS) recently celebrated their Annual Community Celebrations on 2 July at John XXIII College with members from all 16 groups from 13 parishes located around Perth to meet, mingle and celebrate the community and their achievements.
PAS Executive Director Ray Ryan said that the event is celebrated every year at the end of term two and brings together the advocates and their friends (people with disability) along with family members of our friends with disabilities, to enjoy a fun evening together.
“PAS has been supporting people with intellectual disability in the Archdiocese for 28 years and this annual event has been held since it started in 1989.
“Through PAS, we provide a one-to one friendship between an advocate (volunteers from the local community) and a friend (person with an intellectual disability) and events like this every year ensure that we provide a fun and social event for our friends, volunteers and family,” Mr Ryan said.
“The theme this year was ‘PAS has Talent’ and the groups were divided into three sections and each were asked to prepare a performance to a song for the whole community.
“This was received very well amongst all the friends, their volunteers and the group and activities leaders, together with the family of some friends were all asked dress up and join in the festivities,” Mr Ryan added.
While the entertaining was left to local Leederville band, ‘Catch Music’, Mr Ryan said their catchy tunes encouraged everyone to get on the dance floor for the rest of the afternoon.
“This year the Annual Community Celebrations saw some 235 people attend the event which was a huge success with all the groups thrilled to be able to participate.”
Volunteer group leader of the Floreat/Wembley Group, Natalie Laurenson, said that they were very appreciative of the time and effort it took to make the celebration such a huge success.
“Friends and advocates enjoyed connecting with friends from other groups, singing their special song and in particular engaging and dancing along to the new local favourite, ‘Catch Music’.
“What a great idea to have them come and we hope they will be able to come along again,” Ms Laurenson said.
Mr Ryan said that this year’s event was a great success and had everyone in good spirits.
“The music from Catch Music was the highlight of the afternoon that saw every one of our friends on the dance floor. It gave them the freedom to express themselves with physical movement to the music from the band.
“We have reviewed our events and the Annual Community Celebration is one which we will definitely be continuing as the response is always so positive and worth every ounce of energy towards putting it together,” Mr Ryan concluded.
Personal Advocacy Service (PAS) is an agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth and was established in 1989 in response to parents who were seeking ways to enrich the lives of their sons and daughters with intellectual disabilities. The service is currently open to adults, irrespective of their faith background. The program operates through network groups in which parish community volunteers (advocates) and their friends with disabilities receive ongoing support and encouragement from Group Facilitators and fellow Advocates.