Dance-ability: All Abilities Cheer and Dance
With 25 years of personal family experience with disabilities, Alana Giaccio is passionate about contributing to inclusion support, equal rights and spreading kindness.
With the combination of Alana’s unwavering dedication to bringing people with disabilities together, and her desire to have a career that somehow incorporated the fun and creative world of dance, All Abilities Cheer and Dance was born.
Cheer and Dance school for people with disabilities and additional needs
AACD is the only cheer and dance school in South Australia to offer recreational, competition and online, all inclusive, all-ages cheerleading and dance classes, solely for people with all types of disabilities and additional needs.
We chat with Alana about how it all started and what parents can expect when enrolling their child in AACD.
Tell us about how All Abilities Cheer and Dance started?
Having two brothers with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability I’m passionate about equal rights for people with disabilities.
I always wanted my career to involve dance somehow. After I injured my back with a stress fracture in 2012, I didn’t think I could pursue a career in dance. Little did I know that I’d be opening a dance studio for people with disabilities! The experience of providing a service that doesn’t currently exist in South Australia is my biggest and proudest achievement to date. Growing up, I always knew there was a gap in the market, I just didn’t think I’d be the one filling it! Personally, I am proud to offer a unique sport to people who might not have had the chance before. I’m happy that more people can be included and I’m so delighted to see their parents joyous that their child can participate in something, make friends, develop new skills and have fun.
What can children and parents expect at a class?
Children can expect 45 minutes of fun dance games, warm up and cool down exercises with props, as well as a dance routine. Adults can expect 60 minutes of dance technique, flexibility exercises, and jazz, pom and hip hop routines. We have a viewing area in all of our classes and it’s wonderful to see the joy of the parents and Support Workers watching their loved ones participate in something that wasn’t accessible to them before. Most importantly, everyone can expect a safe and supportive environment.
What are the key benefits of dance and movement for children with disabilities?
Dance is a great way to build a person’s balance and proprioception, spatial awareness, visual stabilisation, musicality, teamwork, self-confidence and communication skills, all while making friends. I’ve been very involved in my brother’s lives and have helped with their development. Bringing those skills, I’ve learnt first-hand in my personal life to my dance business gives me great joy.
What are your future plans for All Abilities Cheer and Dance?
AACD offers workshops for schools, service providers and day option programs, as well as school holiday workshops. The future of AACD is to deliver these services to all disability-focused schools and programs in SA.
We also offer competition and performance opportunities. Being affiliated with Special Olympics Australia could put Adelaide residents on the national or international stage! Our goal is to one day compete at the International Cheer Union World Championship (ICU Worlds) in the Special Olympics section in Orlando, Florida.
You have a young team, how did you come together?
My team is a mix of amazing young women that all have personal experience with disability. It was super important for me to have a team of people that understand the needs of people with disabilities from a family perspective, as well as have dance experience. Majority of my team are women I’ve previously danced with for many years and created long-lasting friendships with. We are now all back together to create something meaningful, in-demand and genuine.
Turia Pitt: The HAPPINESS tonic we need in 2020
WORDS: Alexis Teasdale
Turia Pitt inspired the nation with her story of survival and extraordinary resilience after she was caught in an out of control grass fire while competing in an ultra marathon in 2011. She suffered burns to 65% of her body, and then went on to, as her website says, ’defy every expectation placed on her.’
Turia shows life who is boss. She’s a best-selling author, athlete and mindset coach. A two-time Ironman and has raised over a million dollars in donations in her role as an ambassador for Interplast. She has motivated us with her business savvy and entrepreneurship, moved us with her public speaking and made us LOL with her hilarious wit. She’s also had two beautiful babies with her husband Michael and she keeps her motherhood journey real on social media, regaling followers with the ups, downs and in betweens of being a modern parent.
Turia’s new book Happy (And Other Ridiculous Aspirations) is out now and the pick-me-up we all need right now. Not only does she sprinkle her own happiness secrets throughout the book, but Turia interviews other incredible experts and specialists who impart their wisdom too. And the best part is, it’s all practical! Easy to implement, baby-step-style bites of knowledge that will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired.
But enough from us, here is Turia Pitt and her take on happiness.
You mention you were pregnant with your second baby as you were writing this book, and then just after you handed in the manuscript to your publishers, the bushfires started tearing through so much of Australia, including your hometown. Then not long after that you welcomed beautiful baby Rahiti and seven weeks following his birth, the world realises it’s facing a pandemic. That is a huge start to the year! How did your research on happiness for the book help you during those times?
Getting out into nature, meeting up with friends and family and having those really healthy social relationships helps us with our happiness. Then through the pandemic, we weren’t able to go to, say, a national park and see friends and family, so I really wondered if (the book) would have relevance. But I realised that it actually has more relevance because everything I talk about, from showing gratitude, learning to savour the moments, really spending time with your family and being present – all of those things actually help us to be happier.”
“I think just as we have moments of light, and happiness and joy, and excitement, we also have periods of shade, where we feel frustrated or hurt or angry. And it’s all just part of the spectrum of life. All of those emotions are valid and all it means is that we’re human and we’re alive.”
You mention in the intro of the book that you are constantly being asked how you find so much happiness when you have gone through so much. How much did your own happiness practices and rituals inspire the book?
I receive lots of questions from lots of people all over the world, and one of the main ones I get is, ‘How are you so happy?” and I guess what people are saying is ‘how are you so happy given all of the shit that you’ve been through?’ I was always a happy person before my accident, then once I got burnt and I was in hospital, I realised I really needed to work on my own happiness and my own mental health. So I started doing things like gratitude practices and learning to relish the small moments and trying to be mindful and being kind to myself. So all of those little things were elements that I picked up along the way.”
During the research of this book I read a lot of cool papers and one of them was by a woman named Sonya Lybomirsky. The Happiness Pie (The Sustainable Happiness Model) is where 50% of our happiness is determined by our genes, 40% is determined by intentional activities and 10% is determined by life circumstances. So that means whether you go through cancer or you win the lottery, after a couple of years, you reach an equilibrium and you return to your pre-set state of happiness. So it’s both good and bad, because a lot of our happiness is determined by genes. That’s kind of bad. But the good news is that there’s a massive 40% that we can increase or improve our happiness levels.”
“I really think it is possible for all of us to be happier, if that’s what we want. Because, we all go through different stages in our life, and maybe you’re working really hard towards your uni degree, and might not make you very happy in the moment because you’re spending all of your spare time studying and working. But you’ll get a massive sense of satisfaction when it’s finished. I think we all just go through phases, and that’s why I call happiness a bit of a wiggle line. There’s no preset destination.”
Another juicy takeaway we found was when you talked about how making the bed in the morning can serve you throughout the whole day. What is one of your favourite tips from the book?
Yes, I never used to make my bed! And Michael, my partner is a neat freak. He sent me the link to the YouTube video, and I totally changed my mind because making a bed is like such a small foundational start to the day. If you can make your bed, maybe you can drink two litres of water. And you can drink two litres of water, maybe you can go to the gym. And if you can go to the gym, maybe you can, you know, fill in the blank for everyone.
But my favourite tip from the book is just asking myself every morning, ‘what would make today great?’ You can feel the change in your body because you are anticipating a pleasurable experience in the day. It’s not what you have to do for everyone else. It’s just what would make your day. So for me, it’s usually really simple. It’s meeting up with a girlfriend for a coffee, it might be baking choc chip cookies, going for a run with my son. It just makes me feel better about myself and about the day that I’m about to have.
“One of the things I learned through writing the book is that happiness is really found in our day to day life. It’s not these gigantic cataclysmic events like heading off to the south of France, or, you know, running the New York Marathon. Those things are awesome. But we need to be able to find happiness in our everyday lives. And I think that really rang true during both the bushfire crisis and the coronavirus pandemic that we are still experiencing the world.”
You talk about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep. What are your tips for tired parents to try and keep the tank full?
If I have a bad night’s sleep, I have to lower my expectations of what I can do the next day. I have to be kind to myself and say, ‘well, you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, not much you can do about it’. It’s about checking in with yourself. There’s a whole chunk in the book on self love and how we should be nicer to ourselves, and the inner critic that we all have. Think about how you talk to your kids. I would never say to my son, ‘you are a terrible runner, why do you even bother? You might as well give up now.’ I would never speak to him like that! I would say to him, ‘darling, you did your best, you did a great job. The race didn’t go your way. That’s fine. You’re only human, we can’t be perfect all the time’. So it’s just about talking to ourselves how we would talk to somebody that we really care about and if you’re a parent, it’s easy. Just imagine what you would say to your kid.”
Your mum pops up throughout the book, she sounds like such a happy, joyful person. You describe her as ‘perpetually sunny and bursting with optimism.’ What have you learned from your mum about parenting and about being happy?
My mum was really my first example of someone who is happy with their everyday life. She gets so excited about the really small things. So let’s say she buys a new cleaning product, she’ll be really excited about it! She can be really mindful and present in the moment. Spending time with their grandkids, she’s not thinking about all the other things she has to do. I really took a lot from mum – probably not when I was a teenager, because I found her insatiable zest really annoying – and now as an adult I see that it’s actually a really beautiful thing. It’s really hard to maintain that optimism and sense of joy and to be always thinking about others and putting others first.”
One of our favourite moments in the book is when you were younger and struggling with something like maths and you were so frustrated. And you said, ‘Mum, I can’t do it.’ And she said, ‘No, Turia, you can’t do it yet.’
She’s just a really wise woman. I don’t know how she knew to say that, but now I use it. If I ever tell myself I can’t do something or it’s too hard, I just say, well, you might not be able to do it today, you might not be able to do it yet, but it doesn’t mean that you might not be able to do it in the future. I think I’ll definitely be taking that into my parenting manual and what I’ll do with my boys.”
We know, right? Turia is an absolute vault of wisdom and this is just a snippet of the interview we did with her on our podcast KIDDO Chats!
Head on over to your podcast app and listen to Alexis Teasdale interviewing Turia, there is so much more magic shared on the topic of happiness!
Buy Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations)
Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations) is published by Penguin.
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The Girl Gang Wellness: Mentoring tween and teen girls
It’s a woman’s world, but for tween and teen girls sometimes the road to get there can be a tricky path to navigate.
The pressure to be perfect and the challenges of a perpetually plugged in social media life can be all consuming for young girls, but The Girl Gang Wellness is here to help.
School workshops and mentoring
Set up to focus specifically on the wellness of our preteen and teen girls, The Girl Gang does more than just lecture and preach. Hosting school workshops, one on one mentoring programs with young girls and private workshops and events, The Girl Gang Wellness aims to help girls navigate their way through their teen years so they can thrive as healthy, happy, confident adolescents.
Educating, inspiring, empowering
The Girl Gang Wellness was borne of a desire to create a safe space where tween and teen girls could receive advice and guidance from qualified experts, in an environment where they feel relaxed and comfortable.
Offering a variety of different services, developed by a team of psychologists, teen counsellors, doctors and educators, the Girl Gang Wellness provides a safe platform for girls to share stories and become educated on a range of relevant topics they’re dealing with, whether it be friends, school, hormones, family or relationship related.
Teen counsellor and founder of the business, Danielle Demourtzidis says “The Girl Gang Wellness is all about educating, inspiring and empowering young women”… and that sounds like just what we all need!
The Girl Gang Wellness programs include:
- One on one teen counselling: a 6 week, one to one mentoring program with a qualified teen counsellor
- School workshops: with a focus on mental and physical wellness
- Online program: a series of filmed workshops discussing teen relevant issues
Check out KIDDO Chats episode 7 with Danielle from The Girl Gang Wellness about tricky times with tween girls.
In the episode we dive into:
- The types of issues facing young girls today
- How parents of preteen girls can best communicate with them
- How early intervention with counselling and mentoring can set girls up for success
- How to know when we should look for external help if our daughter is experiencing a hard time
- Tips and strategies to support girls going through tricky friendship issues
- How the focus changes as girls get older – what parents should be prepared for when girls turn 12-18!
Listen on your podcast app or stream at kiddomag.com.au
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Life 2.0 … the best is yet to come!
Rebecca Morse is co-host of SAFM’s breakfast show, Bec, Cosi & Lehmo. She has a degree in Journalism and started her media career at the ABC, where she was named SA Journalist of the Year in 2005. Rebecca is actively involved in community and charity work, as a proud Ambassador for Kickstart for Kids, the Animal Welfare League, the Premier’s Reading Challenge, Uniting Care Pancake Day and the Port Adelaide Football Club, She is married with three daughters, Grace, Milla and Frankie and an adopted dalmatian named Henley.
The first time I read a television news bulletin was with the ABC. I was so nervous I nearly hyperventilated in the toilets beforehand and wondered if I could just lock myself in there and give it a miss.
My now 17 year old was a toddler at the time and she pressed her little chubby-cheeked face up to the TV and gave me a kiss.
The novelty of Mummy being on telly wore off very quickly for her. In the end she was only interested so she could be my plus-one to any events that she deemed cool enough to attend.
After that first bulletin was under my belt I was hooked. I loved seeing the studio lights go on, the countdown from the floor manager, followed by the news theme, and then it was my responsibility, and privilege, to communicate the news of the day.
After a series of fill-in stints at the ABC I was offered the role of newsreader at Network 10. It was a position I held, and loved (most of the time) for more than 14 years. My second and third children were born during that period and I headed back to work within six months of their births.
I was given many opportunities and experiences I will always be grateful for. And when I took a job in breakfast radio and found that the juggle was about to break me, my TV bosses let me scale back my hours.
I had a small window between finishing my radio shift and starting my TV shift and I would often grab a quiet coffee by myself. It was on one such morning that my phone rang with the news, with no prior warning that, due to budget cuts, I had been made redundant, along with many of my colleagues throughout the network.
I know this is an experience that thousands have shared, especially during Covid times.
I don’t consider myself special. In fact I consider myself lucky, in that I was comforted and given strength by many strangers, a luxury I realise most don’t have when they lose their job.
My daughters surprised me by rushing onto the news desk after I choked out my final “Good Night”. My boss said she wanted me to have a reminder of what I would now have more time for, in my life post-10.
I’m a few weeks into that new life now.
My husband and the girls are texting me chores, shopping lists and optimistic requests for dinner, given I’m a mediocre cook at best.
I’m wondering how early is too early for wine? If I have a drink at 5pm I can’t help but think of that as news time, and it still seems wrong to be winding down at a time I would previously have been gearing up for the busiest 90 minutes of my day.
For the first time in more than a decade we don’t need any help with the kids. My Mum would come over once a week, cook us all a meal, tidy the house and fold the washing. I said I didn’t need her anymore and now I want her back!
School holidays in particular were always like a Tetris puzzle, trying to allocate annual leave, favours and play dates to make sure all the days were covered. Now I’m putting my hand up to help other Mums and I’m not sure they’re convinced I have the relevant qualifications to be responsible for their child.
I’ve already snapped at my teenage daughter during an argument that it was easier to be at work. Trust me, trying to navigate the school pick-up zone, hangry children and meal preparation is just as challenging as pronouncing foreign leaders’ names correctly.
I do miss my TV job. I miss the people and the buzz. And the free blow-drys. But I need to see the silver linings. I still have my wonderful job in radio, and I was very busy and very tired. The decision to slow down has been taken out of my hands.
Now all I need to nail my new evening role is some simple recipes, a lot more parental patience and that 5pm wine.
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We are the Village x KIDDO
Buy a “We are the Village” t-shirt and help build a village of support for struggling mums.
KIDDO are so proud to announce our collaboration with The Village Co, with the “We are the Village campaign”.
We sat down with Steph from The Village Co to come up with this idea because we were passionate about creating a campaign that would deliver direct and impactful results, raising both awareness and funds in support of vulnerable women and their babies in our community.
With this shared vision to create a campaign that would demonstrate compassion and kindness to struggling mums in desperate need of support, we reached out to our KIDDO community. We wanted to bring together women and families to do what we best; support, care, empathise and empower, by uniting with a common goal to make a difference.
Getting together some influential friends of KIDDO meant that we could showcase our support for women, and the “We are the Village” campaign t-shirt, the proceeds of which will go directly to The Village Co, to help ease the burden on vulnerable women in our community who are having babies and doing it tough.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE
We also want to invite YOU to be a part of supporting the “We are the Village” Campaign.
If you cast your mind back to having your own baby, you’ll probably be able to look back on this experience as a special time with your family and friends; with support, love and care from those around you and an abundance of supplies to help keep your baby warm, fed and safe.
The sad reality is that not all women have this kind of network to rely on. In fact, many women in our state go to give birth without any possessions to their names, let alone a support network when they get home with their precious baby.
The Village Co x KIDDO “We are the Village” campaign aims to raise awareness for these women, and, in turn, vital funds needed to help provide them with fundamental supplies, essential in the early days of parenthood, that may not be accessible to struggling families.
JOIN OUR VILLAGE
It takes a village to raise a child, and for this campaign, The Village Co. and KIDDO want to build this village of support and be a voice for struggling mums. Whether they’re homeless, young, dealing with mental health issues, domestic violence or just don’t have anyone to lean on, we believe no woman should be without a village.
You can support this campaign by buying a “We are the Village” t-shirt, with the proceeds going directly to The Village Co. to support mums in need.
SPREAD THE WORD
We are inviting you to join us because we believe we should stand together, as a community, to help women. We would love to see you represent this village, with authenticity and heart, as well as the belief that we truly can make a difference if we work together.
You can help spread the word by:
- Buy a “We are the Village” t-shirt
- Taking a selfie wearing the tee
- Share it on social media
- Tag @kiddomag and @the_village_co
- Use #wearethevillage
Purchase your t-shirt from Tiff Manuell’s Norwood store, or online thevillageco.org
Remember the more money we raise in t-shirt sales, the more support we can give! Buy a tee for a BFF, your mum, auntie, sister, daughter, grandmother…!
Find out more about The Village Co:
Images: Jake Cunningham
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Local Love: Making motherhood more practical with Bebe Luxe
They say necessity is the mother of invention, and in the case of Bebe Luxe, this was quite literally the case.
Bebe Luxe founder and mum of four beautiful children, Katie Bode, experienced firsthand the many challenges of becoming a parent, along with the slow and inevitable discovery of what works and, perhaps more importantly, what doesn’t.
The BebeLuxe Multi-Use Cover
Like so many mums before her, Katie found herself struggling to properly cover capsules and prams adequately, keeping baby safe from germs and out of the elements. Not to mention the not insignificant task of being able to breastfeed discreetly in public.
After years of personal experience, followed by extensive planning and design, in lieu of finding an existing solution, Katie created her own; in the form of the Bebe Luxe Multi-Use cover.
When breastfeeding, the Bebe Luxe Cover provides mum with 360° privacy, protects your baby from the elements and helps minimise distraction.
As a capsule or pram cover, the Bebe Luxe Cover also protects your baby from the elements, keeps them snug and secure and provides them with a physical barrier from unwanted touching and germs.
Katie designed the Bebe Luxe Cover not only with the aim of making motherhood more practical but also to complement the everyday outfits of the modern mum. Choosing fabric that strayed for traditional baby colours and prints, the Bebe Luxe Cover patterns are handcrafted, unique and individual and made out of premium quality, ethically sourced bamboo fabric, safe for babies.
The BebeLuxe multi-use cover starts at $49.95.
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