Tak­ing the plunge for per­sonal growth

A pro­gramme for young peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties has done great things for one 17-year-old’s self-con­fi­dence. Sarah Roberts re­ports.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Gath­er­ing the courage to bungy jump from a bridge is an achieve­ment, but for Hay­ley Fausett it’s also a mile­stone.

The 17-year-old was brave enough to be the first in a group of 20 peo­ple to take a leap off the Kaw­erau Bridge in Queen­stown. Fausett has dif­fi­culty in so­cial sit­u­a­tions, so do­ing some­thing com­pletely out of her com­fort zone was a big step to­wards gain­ing self-con­fi­dence.

‘‘It didn’t look so bad from afar, but when I got up close, I was scared,’’ Fausett says.

‘‘But I thought to my­self, ‘I have to do this’. I was amazed at what I had achieved.’’

The sec­ondary school stu­dent at­tends Recre­ate NZ pro­grammes for young peo­ple who have in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties. It aims to help them make new friends and gain in­de­pen­dence by of­fer­ing fun ac­tiv­i­ties like camps, din­ners and other so­cial out­ings.

Hay­ley’s fa­ther Gary Fausett says the trans­for­ma­tion in his daugh­ter since she has been part of the group has been amaz­ing.

‘‘You can’t re­ally put your fin­ger on the change, but there’s some­thing there. It’s like a sense of ma­tu­rity.

‘‘Be­fore, she was like a 15-yearold girl. Now she’s a 17-year-old young woman.’’

Recre­ate NZ runs about 220 pro­grammes each year in Auck­land and Christchurch for peo­ple aged 9 to 29.

Photo: SARAH ROBERTS/FAIR­FAX NZ

Hay­ley Fausett jumps off the Kawa­rau Bridge in Queen­stown.

Hay­ley Fausett says she loves meet­ing new friends at Recre­ate NZ pro­grammes.

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