Cate Sayers saw first hand the devastating impacts of not being included. Back in 2009, her then-6 year old daughter Alexandra, who was born with Down syndrome, was not being included in the local dance school because they didn’t know how she learns best, or believe that she could.
Cate started a single dance class which grew to become emotion21 as we know it, incorporating general well-being and fitness whilst tackling broader issues often faced by people with Down syndrome.
As Alexandra grew, the post-secondary school cliff was looming. It became clear to Cate that many people with Down syndrome had no employment prospect and the countless courses that were on offer lead nowhere. What they needed was guaranteed employment through a program that was specifically designed to meet their needs, whilst meeting the needs of the Employer to ensure longevity and success for both parties. People with Down syndrome needed to be paid for their work, at minimum the award wage. Businesses needed to understand the positive impact and value to the organisation by including a person with Down syndrome to their workforce. Impact21 was conceived and 2020 saw the Graduation of the first 12 Alumni.
From the early days in 2009 and continuing today, Cate’s ambition was to create a for-purpose charity that champions the inclusion of people with Down syndrome. Inclusion Foundation, encapsulates this ethos. We see an inclusive world, where people with Down syndrome are equal, active, and respected members of society and this is brought to life through our programs; emotion21 and impact21 which run throughout Victoria with plans to expand across the country.
Today, Inclusion Foundation is a fully endorsed Australian charity and recognised as a public benevolent institution with all donations over $2 being tax deductible.