Courtney Hutchins, an Accountant at McKern & Associates, recently assisted Mandy Akehurst, Shan Barnes and Leesa Purcell to establish a not-for-profit organisation, Therapy and Dance Association Inc. (TAD). TAD was set up to promote and fund Special Needs creative expression in Australia.
The group set up the organisation in January 2014, when they discovered a gap in services available in this area. This was primarily due to Shan’s ASD nephew & Leesa’s ASD & Aspergers son, not being able to participate in conventional dance classes due to their strict structure and for fear of judgment by their peers. To overcome this issue the ladies put their heads together and founded this amazing organisation, creating a safe and supportive environment.
TAD has been fortunate to partner with ZAC’s Cheer & Tumble who have donated floor space at their dance school in Burleigh Waters, enabling community awareness and interest in TAD to grow astronomically. The mission of this organisation is clear and inspirational:
1. To build a National dance school catering specifically to the special needs community. To build a culture shift in the perception of ‘special needs’ and enable these children and adults to express themselves in their own way and not be judged for it.
2. To create an awareness of the varying degrees of disabilities and provide a place where people feel comfortable, can grow through building social relationships, reduce anxiety issues, build strength and most of all enable fun!
TAD has taken their students to the Gold Coast Disability Eisteddfod placing 3rd & receiving a Highly Commended; participated in the Ikin/Ariel Angels spectacular and is aiming to back it up again this year and add the Cheer Nationals at the Gold Coast Convention Centre to the list.
Unlike many organisations, TAD prides itself on the fact that 100% of donations fund the operation of this wonderful organisation. All members are volunteers, and TAD is a member of the public benevolent institution and is endorsed as a Deductible Gift Recipient with the ATO.
“We originally started TAD to cater to as many children and adults as possible. Now that our numbers have grown we need our own dance warehouse to service the community in a more practical way and would appreciate all donations whether monetary or non-monetary in building our dream!” Courtney Hutchins (Treasurer)
Channel Nine have recently conducted an interview with TAD which will assist in creating community awareness and support. It will be airing this week and we will also provide a YouTube link as soon as possible.