For newcomers and committee members alike, the tenth anniversary of the Aspire Oaks Day luncheon filled hearts.
The 200-strong crowd was treated to special performances from Aspire members including a signature waltz with roses by Richie Plante.
“It’s really nice having the Aspire input. It’s been ten years. There’s lots of love and warmth in the room,” said Liz Wotherspoon.
It was an emotional day for organiser and board director Lizzie Pogson, with the 2018 lunch marking 10 years of giving back to Aspire.
“I’ve been in tears many times today. It just means so much and when I hear staff tell me that people have cried when they’ve been told that their grant’s been approved, I mean that’s just – that’s reward.
For Lizzie Pogson, the most satisfying achievement over the last ten years has been raising the money.
“I’d like to achieve a higher target than we have in the past. For ten years, it will be a special milestone but I’ll be very happy with whatever we raise for people’s generosity.
But she’s quick to point out, she’s part of a team.
“We have a very special bunch of ladies who come and lots of them have come nearly every year. And they are genuinely here for the cause and I can’t thank them enough for supporting us and make them feel that we can actually do this.”
For guest speaker, Katrina Redcliffe, who has personally volunteered with the organisation for 14 years, Aspire helped her 19-year-old autistic son Jarrod become the footballer he is today.
“The grant’s allowed my son to play football for Victoria. It’s also allowed the football teams he’s played with to receive funding.”
Aspire is not the only organisation to recognise Jarrod Redcliffe’s talent and ability on the footy field. On Friday night he is being presented as an All Australian player at the AFL awards.
“A lunch like this shows there’s still people out there that care. It’s often hard to raise funds for a big group or kids with special needs but there are people out there willing to help out.”
Among the highlights of the day was an appearance by JD Smith, one of The Ten Tenors, who was joined on stage by the singers and dancers among the crowd.
According to Katrina, there’s one message that will outlast any anniversary. “Kids with special needs can achieve anything.”
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