Doubleview children’s advocate a Local Hero
25 October 2019
Rebecca Watson became a champion for children with disability after her daughter Marlee was diagnosed with Rett syndrome.
Her efforts have recently been recognised through the Westfield Local Heroes initiative, with Ms Watson being named one-of-three Local Heroes in her region, as nominated and voted for by the community.
Ms Watson was awarded a $10,000 grant to go towards the installation of a wheelchair accessible Sway Fun Glider for Holy Rosary School, which allows two wheelchair users and up to eight other children to swing and play together.
The accolade comes after years of advocating and fundraising for children with disability.
Over two and a half years Ms Watson has raised $59,000 for the Sway Fun Glider project from grants, community fundraising and private and corporate donations including $25,000 from PSC Insurance.
“It would have taken us a long time to get the project across the line if these wonderful community grants weren’t offered by differing organisations,” she said.
Ms Watson thanked Westfield for the “awesome initiative” and gave a special shout out to everyone who voted and donated to get the Sway Fun Glider project across the line.
“I personally can’t wait to see the Sway Fun installed and the school and wider community benefiting from it,” she said.
The Sway Fun Glider is expected to be installed by January next year.
“To add icing to the cake for me, it was a fabulous way to kick off Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Awareness Month,” Ms Watson said.
“I got to talk and present to several Westfield staff as well as passionate members of our community about how the Westfield Local Heroes program has allowed me to spread awareness not only about the school’s project, but about AAC devices and how those with complex communication needs can communicate, be taught and learn.
“They were blown away when they saw me demonstrate how to use Marlee’s Tobii and how she can use her eyes not only to communicate, but also play music, access email and more.”
Westfield Local Heroes is a community recognition and grants program, connecting and enriching local communities.
Nominations open in February for the 2020 Westfield Local Heroes program, so start thinking about those people in your school communities who make a difference.