All Abilities wins Aus Day award

Glen Eira mayor Tony Athanasopoulos (left) presents Shari Cohen with the award.

MACCABI Victoria All Abilities has been recognised as the Community Group of the Year by Glen Eira Council at their Australia Day Breakfast Awards.

The awards, which were presented last week by mayor Tony Athanasopoulos, recognise residents and organisations who have significantly contributed to the local community.

Maccabi All Abilities was honoured for its accomplishment in providing “programs that support increased access and participation opportunities for Jewish people of all abilities in sport and active recreation”.

All Abilities inclusion coordinator Shari Cohen accepted the award, telling The AJN it was a tremendous honour to receive the acknowledgement.
“It’s great to get recognition for what we do and what we are trying to help make happen in the community,” Cohen said.

The organisation which began over 10 years ago, has been working alongside mainstream Maccabi clubs trying to give people with disabilities opportunities to train, volunteer and also coach some of the teams.

In her acceptance speech, Cohen affirmed the importance of inspiring individuals with disabilities to become involved in sports and recreational activities. “Recent statistics show that 79 per cent of people (without a disability) participate in sport and recreation – but only 24 per cent of people who have a disability do. So it was just good to get some of those numbers out there and have people recognise that we are trying to grow that number beyond 24 per cent,” she said.

Also honoured at the event was Lital Weizman, joint winner of the Young Citizen of the Year award.

Hailed as “a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer”, as part of Stand Up’s Encounters Mentoring Program, Weizman tutors a year 8 student from a Sudanese refugee family while also helping to lead Stand Up’s holiday programs for Sudanese youth and other cultural community events.