AMY Whitten’s smile is beaming.
And not because she is a semi-finalist for two Victorian Young Achiever Awards.
The 24-year-old is proud of what she does and wants to raise more awareness for all inclusive services in the Echuca area.
‘‘I am an occupational therapist with Scope disability support services based in Bendigo but I am in Echuca three days a week,’’ Amy said.
‘‘But I guess my nomination for the awards came from my not-for-profit organisation called BEAM.
‘‘Beam is an all abilities, all inclusive movement to music program that aims to provide a safe and inclusive environment for students to learn, develop confidence and have fun.
‘‘I was at university when two mothers came to me and encouraged me to start the program after I saw a gap in what was offered for people with disabilities.
‘‘I had worked in dance schools and the like where it was very structured and you had to have a certain disability to be involved.
‘‘We wanted to start something that was completely inclusive for everyone.
‘‘And now I have students from 18 months to 55 years old.’’
Amy is the co-director dance teacher and co-ordinator at BEAM All Abilities All Inclusive Movement to Music which runs out of the Long Gully Community Centre.
But there are plans to move BEAM to her hometown.
‘‘I grew up here (Echuca), my parents grew up here and all the way back in our family so I love Echuca and really want to push some of these inclusion programs into the community,’’ she said.
‘‘My work with Scope also brings me back to Echuca three days a week so working with the people here I can see there is a demand for more inclusive services.’’
Amy was a finalist in the Bart ‘N’ Print Health and Wellbeing Award in the 2017 Victorian Young Achiever Awards but never expected to back it up in 2018.
‘‘My uni co-ordinator nominated me back then but this year the committee of the awards rang me and asked if they could nominate me again,’’ she said.
‘‘It was quite unexpected and I don’t think I will win it but it is nice to be recognised for the work you are doing.’’
Amy is a semi finalist in the Saward Dawson Community Service and Social Impact Award and the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia Regional and Rural Health Award.
The finalists will be named this week before the winner is announced at a gala dinner in Melbourne on May 18.
For information about BEAM, visit its facebook page.