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.
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.
Hayley Fausett jumps off the Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown.
Hayley Fausett says she loves meeting new friends at Recreate NZ programmes.