On Monday 13th February 2012, Variety - the Children's Charity presented a Sunshine Coach to the Insight Education Centre for the Blind and Vision Impaired in Berwick. The keys were presented by Variety Victoria board member Eva Arulrajah and from the Rotary Club of Glen Waverley, Don Kerley to Insight Education Centre Co- Founder, Alan Lachman and Principal, Kay Berry Smith. Insight’s mission is to ensure the 1000 (circa) Victoria blind and vision impaired children and young people reach their highest level of independence and potential by providing quality education and life management programs that complement the mainstream education system.
Insight was established in response to the December 2009 closure of Vision Australia’a Education Centre (formerly the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind) in Melbourne and the subsequent reduction in the ability to meet the special education requirements for young people – both in the core curriculum and the expanded core curriculum necessary for blind children to achieve their potential, independence and a sense of self-worth.
This Sunshine Coach will be used to take children to school, on excursions, as well as enable them to access the local community. The bus will also be used for the ‘Insight on Tour’ project which will reach out to blind and vision impaired children and their families and carers across Victoria.
Sunshine Coaches transport children from special schools and other organisations to activities that enable them to interact with their friends and the community. They literally bring sunshine into the lives of children, who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs and otherwise might be confined to their homes or schools. In 2011, Variety Victoria presented its 150th Sunshine Coach to Burwood East Special Developmental School.
Supporting this presentation is Co-Founder of Insight Alan Lachman, Co-Founder of Insight, Maria Franca Galanzi, NHS Principal, Roger Page, Pro Vice-Chancellor Monash University Berwick Prof. Leon Piterman, Casey City Council Cr. Amanda Stapledon, Insight board members Maurice Gleeson and Naomi O’Brien, Insight Fundraising Executive Irene Felner, Insight Principal Kay Berry-Smith, staff and students.
The total grant includes a Sunshine Coach and a Mobile Learning Centre. These vehicles will be used on a day to day basis for experiential events and seminars that will promote, inform and engage Victorian parents, children, mainstream teachers, day-care and family medical professionals, to discover how capable a blind or vision impaired child can be and how to get a child reaching and exceeding expectations.