Volunteers help Novita celebrate 80 years of service

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A gathering of long-serving volunteers and auxiliaries helped Novita celebrate its 80th anniversary on Thursday May 23rd.

Novita’s history dates back to May 1939, when the Crippled Children’s Association of South Australia opened a home on the Esplanade at Somerton Park for kids living with polio.

Today, Novita is one of South Australia’s largest and most respected disability service organisations supporting kids, young people, and adults through a range of therapy services, assistive technology and equipment, independent living services, Day Options and community programs.

Volunteers remain central to Novita’s success, and many were on hand at an event to celebrate National Volunteer week to watch Novita President Kevin Scarce, long-standing auxiliary members Jocelyn Frattini (40 years of service) and Anne Nagy (47 years of service), and Paralympic Gold Medallist Brayden Davidson cut a special 80th anniversary cake.

Mr Scarce said Novita’s volunteers had made a very important contribution through the years.

“Volunteering requires a lot of dedication, but we do it because we enjoy it, and we can make a difference, and hopefully it has also been fun,” he said.

“I want to sincerely thank our volunteers for their contribution, and I would encourage them to continue as we modernise our fundraising efforts so that we can continue to provide our important services.

“There are lots of things that we do the NDIS will not recompense us for, and that’s one of the challenges we have taken on for ourselves because we believe those services and supports are important, and with the support of the community we’ll continue to provide them.”

Special guest Brayden Davidson OAM – a former Novita kid who lives with cerebral palsy – won a gold medal in the long jump at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, and told the gathering that Novita had helped him achieve his goals.

“I have many great memories of Novita. They helped me out a lot, especially with splinting and casting to help lengthen my muscles, and with occupational therapy to support my handwriting,” said Brayden.

“All of the work aimed at strengthening my legs has allowed me to achieve what I have to date.”

Mr Scarce said celebrating Novita’s 80th anniversary was very worthwhile.

“In the 80 years since the organisation started, we’ve faced many challenges which have produced services that are sorely needed for many children, young people and adults, which hopefully have enabled them to live better lives and reach their potential,” he said.

“Our values have never changed over the 80 years.”