Wild Things Raffle Winners

Congratulations to our lucky raffle winners! Thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket for the 2022 emotion21 Wild Things Concert Raffle. Every dollar raised from the raffle will go towards supporting our amazing emotion21 dancers.

1st Prize

Karen Woodward – Ticket Number: #638 won the fun Bexly Electric Scooter valued at $1,999.

2nd Prize

Melissa Wilson – Ticket Number: #66 won the Travel Pack including a Samsonite Suitcase, Audio Technica Headphones and Space Talk Adventurer Watch valued at $1,017.

3rd Prize

Daniel Richardson – Ticket Number: #334 won the stylish Home Bundle valued at $580. It includes French Linen by Bed Threads, Ergoflex Pillows and a Sage and Clare Bath Mat.

4th Prize

Kate van der Drift – Ticket Number: #47 won the Special Drinks Bundle valued at $354. It includes a Yarra River Bottomless Brunch Cruise, Ridel Wine Glasses, a SodaStream and a selection of gins from the Melbourne Gin Company.

5th Prize

Roslyn Allen – Ticket Number: #520 won the Gardeners Pack valued at $374 which includes a Hoselink retractable hose, Made from Good wood plant stand, Jones & Co vase and The Little Growers 5 seed packet mix.

Come to where the wild things are

Come to where the wild things are

After a long three years, Inclusion Foundation’s talented emotion21 dancers are set to get back on stage, where they belong.

The 2022 emotion21 Annual Concert is back, bigger and better than ever. And you’re invited.

Performance is an integral part of the emotion21 program as it allows people with Down syndrome to showcase their abilities to their families, friends and local communities. It is a culmination of their teamwork over many months, collaborating and creating something special to share with an audience.

This year emotion21 participants have gone wild – think jungle jingles, natural environments and friends from the animal kingdom coming together for an unforgettable adventure.

Join in the fun. There will be a BBQ, door prizes and a raffle with lots of fun goodies up for grabs.

Many local businesses have supported Inclusion Foundation by donating raffle prizes. Therefore every single dollar raised from the raffle goes towards helping people with Down syndrome realise their full potential. By purchasing a ticket today you can help:

  • Train more dance teachers to ensure that they can support people with Down syndrome in their learning and development 

  • Acquire and improve dancing facilities such as ballet barres, fitness aids and performance props and costumes 

  • Invest in the continuous improvement of our curriculum to ensure that our programs are innovative and world-class

Can’t wait to see you there!

Expanding a Positive Impact

Expanding a Positive Impact 

Nicky loves music, travelling around Australia and the world with his family to catch the latest theatre productions. 

To further indulge his passion, 25-year-old Nicky wants to earn his own money and buy a new Bluetooth speaker. 

To help get there, Nicky is joining a new disability education to employment program launching soon in Bendigo. 

Inclusion Foundation’s innovative Impact21 program – delivered in partnership with CVGT Employment Australia – is designed to help young people with Down syndrome or intellectual disability to find real, paid employment. 

The course involves a classroom component, workplace activities and an internship at the end of the program. 

The goal is to equip each young person with the skills required to acquire a role in the open workforce.  

“For the families involved, it’s about building that independence for their child or family member,” Inclusion Foundation, Impact21 Lead Regional Coordinator Donna Petrusma said. 

“The motivation for participants is finding employment. It’s about finding friends, learning how to work in a professional environment in an appropriate way, and building that social connection and responsibility.” 

The program has enjoyed significant success in Melbourne over the past two years, matching dozens of young people with employers and boosting inclusion and independence. 

Bendigo’s 18-month pilot of the program, funded by Jobs Victoria, is bringing together up to 10 local participants and national and community employers and will launch in August. 

“We’ve loved being part of this initiative, expanding the horizons for what’s possible when it comes to work for people with Down syndrome or an intellectual disability,” CVGT Employment chief executive Jason Russell said. 

“We’re confident Impact21 will have the same impact in Bendigo as it’s already having in Melbourne, where successful participants are working with employers such as JB Hi-fi, Tennis Australia and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.” 

Impact21 targets three areas of professional workplace development – administration, customer service and hospitality. 

“We delve into those areas so participants can clearly have a look at what interests them and where they want to move in their career path,” Ms Petrusma said, “rather than offering a role they don’t want or are not suited to.” 

Nicky is excited about being involved and his aims for the program are clear. 

“I’m looking forward to making friends, earning money and learning skills.” 

An information session for potential participants, families and disability service providers will be held at the Bendigo Library, 259 Hargreaves Street, on Wednesday 3 August from 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm and 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm.  

For more details, or to register your interest, contact Donna Petrusma by email at donna.petrusma@inclusionfoundation.org.au or on 03 9854 7100. 

Media release courtesy of CVGT Australia.

Specialised Down Syndrome Programs Come To Bendigo

Specialised Down Syndrome Programs Come To Bendigo

Inclusion Foundation supports people with Down syndrome in reaching their full potential.

Inclusion Foundation champions the Inclusion of people with Down syndrome in our communities – both socially and economically. We see an inclusive world where people with Down syndrome are equal, active and respected members of society.

We do this through two key programs

·       Impact21 – An employment matching program

·       emotion21 – A dance, fitness and wellbeing program

Inclusion Foundation programs are evidence-based and delivered by industry-leading professionals with proven experience in helping children and adults with Down syndrome reach their full potential.

And now we are coming to Bendigo!


Impact21, is an employment and personal development program for adults with Down syndrome and intellectual disability. Since 2019, Impact21 has proven success in matching people with Down syndrome with long-term meaningful employment.

Graduate, Jacqui Wischer, joined PwC in 2020 as a Consulting People and Culture Administration Assistant and continues to work there today;

“Impact21 really boosts up your self-esteem. I enjoy making new friends, having fun and working hard. I like having a job because I like to focus on my work tasks. It makes me feel like I am a very important person and a hard-working professional adult.”

Throughout the course, participants will learn valuable skills such as;

·       Working in a team

·       Workplace communication

·       Time management

·       Digital literacy

·       Professional Conduct

·       On the job coach provided by CVGT

In partnership with disability employment service provider CVGT, our experienced team works directly with individuals in the employment preparation stage. As we get to know each person, we learn more about their skills, strengths and interests. That informs how we match and place them in a workplace. It also guides how we continue to assist and support them once they’re on the job.

Participants will attend the course hosted by a provider based in Bendigo. This provides the capacity building and inclusive experience of commuting into a busy town and engaging with the program in a setting where same-aged peers are also studying and experiencing work.

The benefits of this program extend beyond employment in the open workforce, it is an opportunity to fully participate in the community as equals.

Excitingly, we will be launching our Impact21 Bendigo course pilot in July!

Young adults with Down syndrome, aged between 22 and 35, are encouraged to apply. This unique program will lead to increased social and civic inclusion, greater independence, and ultimately a sustainable, customised role in a national organisation.

Impact21, in partnership with CVGT, is a distinctive employment program. It places real people into real jobs with real wages. This innovative pilot program is funded by the Victorian Government, so there is no out-of-pocket cost for participants.



Running since 2009, emotion21 is a proven dance, fitness and wellbeing program for children,  teens and adults with Down syndrome. Using the latest research and techniques, we have a strengths-based curriculum tailored to meet the specific learning needs of people with Down syndrome.

Our team of experienced teachers and volunteers, including teachers with Down syndrome, create a nurturing environment of learning, celebrating the everyone’s individuality and ability.

emotion21 is an innovative and award-winning program with inclusion at its heart. 

Classes, concerts, and performances are delivered in community settings and deliver tangible outcomes for participants including; better health and fitness, improved cognitive function, enriched confidence and self-esteem, and importantly, meaningful connections with their community.

Parents of current participants have lauded emotion21  claiming that outcomes have been life-changing for their children. Jenny’s daughter has been involved with emotion21 since 2017;

 “Our daughter’s self-esteem has skyrocketed. Confidence is not something that can be turned on and off. It shows in appearance, speech, movement, and behaviour.”

emotion21 is a caring and supportive community that celebrates individuality and creates new friendships. All ages are welcome – enrol in a class today!


Want to know more?

Attend our free Inclusion Foundation Information Night and speak with our directly with our team:

When:              Wednesday 1 June 2022

Time:                6pm to 7pm

Where:             CVGT, 17 Jackson Street, Long Gully

We’re all part of the story

We're all part of the story

The ‘Move With Me – We’re All A Part Of The Story’ campaign was an opportunity for our community of people with Down syndrome to share their stories. The Inclusion Foundation supports people with disabilities contributing to the conversation around what it means to be an Australian.

The Inclusion Foundation’s emotion21 program is more than just dancing and fitness. It is about building nurturing and supportive communities. And that is just what happened this Australia Day when more than 52 emotion21 dancers gathered to Reflect, Celebrate and Celebrate.

The Inclusion Foundation acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the Traditional Custodians of the land we dance and learn on and pay our deepest respect to their Elders, past, present, and emerging.

emotion21 dancers share their Australian stories

emotion21 dancers share their Australian stories

Inclusion Foundation emotion21 participants are proud Australians and wanted to share their personal stories with you this Australia Day.

In a special social media campaign “Move with me. We’re all part of the story” dancers with Down syndrome invite their community to join them this Australia Day and do what they love doing most…dancing!

So get involved and get moving. Find your favourite Aussie tune and dance along with our emotion21 dancers. Share your dance on social media and hashtag #inclusionfoundation and #wereallpartofthestory and together we can Reflect, Respect, and Celebrate. 

The Inclusion Foundation acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the Traditional Custodians of the land we dance and learn on and pay our deepest respect to their Elders, past, present, and emerging. 

RADIANT – emotion21 dancers set to shine in online concert

RADIANT – 3 December 6 pm – 7.30 pm

The emotion21 annual concert, this year brought to you by DuluxGroup, is a great way to showcase the talent of our incredible dancers.

Come and celebrate their achievements and see our dancers shine on Friday 3 December from 6 to 7.30 pm. Everyone is welcome.

Hosted by Tim Campbell, the event promises to be a wonderful experience that demonstrates exactly how RADIANT our dancers are

Click here for tickets to the Kew, Pascoe Vale and Rowville Concert
Click here for Ballarat, Cranbourne, Geelong, Greensborough and Hoppers Crossing Concert

Won’t make the concert?

Don’t miss out on our amazing raffle!!

With a Smeg Fridge as first prize and a $1250 shopping spree as second, this raffle is our most exciting and prize-filled yet!


Impact21 Enrolments are now open!

We are now taking applications for Impact21 for 2022!

If you, or the person you support, would like to learn more about enrolling in Impact21, our innovative work readiness program, please come along to our special online information night on: Monday 22 November 2021 5.30 pm to 7 pm.

Impact21 programs start in March 2022, but we are taking expressions of interest now. Please register your interest and we will forward you a meeting link.


On the night we will answer questions about Impact21.

1. Impact21 program for 22 – 35-year-olds, third intake for 2022
2. Foundation program for 16-22-year-olds
3. Impact21 regional pilot in Bendigo

If you would like to learn more about the program, including the NDIS schedule, download our Parent and Key Support Person Information Kit now and come armed with all your queries.

2021 Impact Report Highlights Great Successes

2021 Impact Report Highlights Successes

As we finish off a year to remember for the Inclusion Foundation (and the world), we are pleased to share our 2021 Impact Report. Thanks to all of our wonderful supporters, we made some great strides in the last year, including navigating COVID, delivering over 45 emotion21 classes per week, and establishing and expanding Impact21. 

We want to thank everyone for supporting the Inclusion Foundation through one of our most challenging years yet. Together we have achieved a great deal. But most importantly, we have been able to continue championing the inclusion of people with Down syndrome.

Our participants will always remain at the heart of everything we do and the Impact Report is a great way to share our successes. Download the full report here and enjoy!

emotion21 concert, Radiant, raffle winners

Congratulations to our lucky winners! Thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket. Every dollar raised from the raffle will go towards supporting our amazing emotion21 dancers.

1st Prize

Sophie Blachford – Ticket Number: #202 won the Smeg FAB32 Lime Green Fridge valued at $3,290.

2nd Prize

Wendy Kortman – Ticket Number: #375 won the $1,250 shopping spree from brands such as JB Hi-Fi, Forever New, and Frankie 4 Shoes.

3rd Prize

Jo Pertile – Ticket Number: #554 won the special Food and Kitchen Pack valued at $455


It’s hard to believe but we are in October already and that means one thing for us – Down Syndrome Awareness Month!

October was first designated as Down Syndrome Awareness Month in the 1980s and has been recognised every year since.

The month is another opportunity to engage the wider community with a simple message – regardless of background, ethnicity, gender or ability, society often overlooks or ignores the obvious fact that behind every human face, is a person. A person who, despite seeing or experiencing the world differently to the rest of us, possess the same feelings, hopes and desires that we all do.

We have a number of exciting activities planned providing fun and active opportunities for all to get involved.

The first of which is a “Bake-a-long”

Inclusion Foundation’s very own Ash Hudson (impact21 Learning Support) is also a professional chef! He has cooked us up our very own Inclusion Foundation cupcake. Everyone can say ‘count me in!’ with this is a recipe that tastes fantastic while being gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free (You could almost say healthy!!).

Decorate them as you please and have fun, share your results with the community, post to your socials using the hashtags #21yourway #CountMeInCupcake. 

Click here to download the recipe.

#CountMeIn is the call from Corporate Australia as employers partner with Inclusion Foundation

Matthew Foo working in the cafe at DuluxGroup

Inclusion Foundation is excited to announce our 2021 corporate partners for the innovative program Impact21. This unique employer-driven program leads to meaningful and matched employment for Victorian employers and young adults living with Down syndrome and intellectual disability. The program has been co-designed with large-scale employer partners and was launched in 2019. Since then, the program has continued to support not only the worker but also the employer to achieve their diversity and inclusion objectives.

The Impact21 employer partners are SodexoJB H-FiTorrens University AustraliaACMIMelbourne Sports CentresTennis Australia and CVGT. These partnerships are a welcome addition to an already thriving program supporting a diverse workforce that leads to sustainable employment for Impact21 participants.

“ACMI is proud to join the program,” said ACMI Director & CEO Katrina Sedgwick OAM. “Our ACMI 2019-2022 Disability Action Plan was formulated to capture the spirit of our organisational values which include a commitment to inclusion and diversity. Impact21 is a wonderful opportunity to continue putting this commitment to diversity into action”.

The first of the two-year program provides personal and professional skill development in an environment where same aged peers are also studying. Torrens University facilitated this by hosting the program pilot. In 2021, an equitable learning experience in CBD campuses has been realised by the Centre for Adult Education and Torrens University. Program participants engage with employer partners throughout and move into matched employment with on-the-job learning and support.

Earlier this year, Impact21 graduate Matthew Foo (pictured) recommenced work at the DuluxGroup office in Clayton, working closely with the People Services team. Matthew has also recently joined the Ducaf team on a weekly basis working in the café. “Ducaf is the nice place to get a coffee and catch up with friends,” says Matthew who is really enjoying the new opportunity and experience working in the café.

“The Impact21 program facilitates the Tennis Australia inclusion and diversity strategy being implemented in daily practice,” said Craig Tiley, Tennis Australia CEO. “Customised employment allows us to really look at what we need as an organisation, work with the program participants, and understand their skills and interests, to then align for meaningful employment.”

A mere 7 per cent of Australians think people with disabilities are supported “very well”, according to the Australia Talks National Survey 2021. Inclusion Foundation aims to increase this percentage through the Impact21 program with targeted support to participants as well as their employers. Further, according to the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 48 (2018) 417–431 “the most important factor indicating best practice in employment of people with disability was strong connections with and understanding of disability support networks.”

Inclusion Foundation works to bridge this gap with a long-term goal of creating a world where people with an intellectual disability are equal, active, respected members of society. With less than 5% of working-aged individuals with Down syndrome in open employment, programs such as Impact21 are a shining light for inclusion in the workforce.

Inclusion Foundation is proud to be leading the way to an inclusive future with the innovative program Impact21 and forward-thinking partners.