It's a wrap! Yooralla's 2021 Employee Excellence Awards, Annual General Meeting and Big Day Out/In

DATE: 8 December 2021

For the first time in two years, Yooralla celebrated its annual day of celebrations with the Big Day Out/In on Monday 29 November. While we were disappointed it couldn’t be in person this year, it was a fantastic opportunity for us to live cross to some of the regional hubs and celebrate International Day of People with Disability.

Local singer/Songwriter, Eliza Hull was one of the many stars of the Big Day Out/In performances. Eliza, who has recently been awarded Arts Access’ National Leadership Award as part of the 2021 National Arts and Disability Awards, performed two songs from her latest album, ‘How we disappeared’.

Eliza opened the celebrations talking about her lived experience with disability and the barriers she’s experienced as a musician before performing her song, ‘Army’.

Eliza Hull

Director of Practice, Improvement and APO, Jo Malone, live crossed to Trinh Pham and customers at Macey Heights hub who busted into a high energy rendition of the ‘Gangnam style’ dance routine from the popular video game ‘Just Dance’.

We then crossed live to the recently announced Winner of the Emerging Leader Award, Service Manager Cheryle Williams, and Maureen who recently celebrated her 40th anniversary as a resident at Splatt Street, Swan Hill.

Our Chief Experience Officer, Matt Warren, crossed to a live Bingo session with the esteemed Bingo host from the Ferntree Gully hub, Jessica Silver. We crossed to Kristy at VASS where the team really shone not only with their expertise and creative form of Bingo, but also with their fabulous photo booth fun.

Elouise Holmes, our Director of Philanthropy, introduced an important video from some of Yooralla’s donors who talked about why they donate to Yooralla while long-standing staff member, Heather, shared her reasons for why she chooses to give back to the Yooralla community.

Andrea Walters, Project Manager of Neurological SIL Services, welcomed the Uniting Neurological Support Services, who are officially joining the Yooralla team on 6 December. There were warm messages of hello from all four Uniting houses — Willow, Federation, Victorian and Contemporary House — that even sparked some healthy competition around the making of colourful signs!

We saw photos of Clifton Street and Elise Jones Drive hubs who had started their Big Day Out/In celebrations early with a BBQ on the weekend as all the customers wanted to attend work and placement on the Monday of the Big Day Out/In.

Matt, Jo and our Director of Marketing and Communications, Stefan Grun, took us on a tour of some of the beautiful artwork displayed in Head Office some of which were from Leongatha’s art exhibition that took place earlier in the year as well as photos from Footscray hubs’ Photographic Skills classes. There were even offers from viewers to purchase these works!

Matt then crossed to the serene outdoor setting of the Leongatha hub to a customer, Mitch, who was certainly dressed to impress. He and the customers brought high energy to the day’s event with their Abba-inspired Zumba class which many of us danced and sang along to. This live performance was followed by an engaging video that beautifully showcased Leongatha’s talented team and services.

Vanny stole the limelight as he sang along to the classic 80’s hit by Mr. Mister ‘Broken Wings’ in a karaoke session that would put Australia’s Got Talent contestants to shame.

The days celebrations culminated with singer, songwriter, Eliza Hull singing her spine-tingling song, ‘Echoes - a song about finding your way in the world even when you’re feeling a bit lost, unsure or confused. Eliza spoke of the importance of celebrating International Day of People with Disability — an important day that amplifies all that people with disability do.

Yooralla’s Big Day Out/In was certainly a day of celebration for all! You can view a gallery of the images above and watch some of the highlights below.

A special thanks to the many customers and staff who helped make the day possible by being part of the Organising Committee.

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