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OT Students Foster Fun And Friendship!

News story

Curtin Occupational Therapy students have enabled young adults to enjoy a fun night out and to develop friendships at Red Carpet Cinema.

Red Carpet Cinema is movie night that is held once a month for young adults with an intellectual disability and additional needs. It was launched earlier this year by a group of parents who recognised when young people with an intellectual disability finished school their social networks tended to fall away. The movie night provides these young people with an opportunity to increase their independence and participate in a leisure activity in a safe and fun environment.

This initiative would not be possible without the enthusiastic OT student volunteers. They provide a pivotal role in greeting the movie club members, assisting to foster friendships and enjoying the movie as peers.

The volunteers were initially involved in setting up, cooking popcorn and cleaning up at the end of the evening. However, over the months their duties have evolved to make greater use of their occupational therapy skills and knowledge, to encourage the movie club members to participate in the running of the evening. Members are now greeting new members, managing the guest list, making popcorn and writing movie reviews. There has also been more of a focus for the students to facilitate social interaction, particularly engaging new participants and those who may be reluctant to interact. A goal is to provide the young adults with a sense of belonging and ownership of the group.

Watching how the volunteers have been so inclusive, enthusiastic and pro-active has demonstrated what great people are drawn to study occupational therapy.

Volunteers include Sarah Hoy, Paige Gaskett, Nicaela Doyle, Shannon Reynolds, Kendall Catto, Katie Beros, Tara Durkan, Ciarain Hoey, Kate Snelling, Natalie Stefanovski, Luke Walker, Josh Panelo, Ashley Skinner, Paige Hamilton-Smith, Ronan Collela and Jessica Zurhaav.

“Red Carpet Cinema has really given a greater perspective on the importance of social interaction. I’ve realised I take my daily interactions with friends, family and strangers for granted,” commented volunteer Paige Gasket.

“I like Red Carpet Cinema because I love entertaining people and putting a smile on everyone’s face. It creates an atmosphere for the people to come out of their shells and just relax with their friends,” said volunteer Joshua Panelo.

movie club

Movie club member, Anna Gray said Red Carpet Cinema is fun and a chance to chat with your friends and OT students. I like the fact that I know what to expect and I have the opportunity to dance with my friends. It is an awesome place where I get to relax.

New volunteers are always welcome, especially as Red Carpet Cinema is looking to grow the membership. The movie nights take place on the third Friday of each month at the Pelican Community Centre in Swanbourne. Volunteers are required from 6.30-10.30 pm. If you are interested in a fun night out please contact Naomi Moylan (namoylan@iinet.net.au). We look forward to hearing from you!