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Rise People with Disability

Lorraine Tilker creative arts by rise Volunteer

Lorraine a volunteer for life

Lorraine Tilker has been a volunteer her entire life. For the past 22 years, it’s been with Rise.

Charitable from a young age

At the aged of 17 Lorraine started volunteering. She assisted a friend care for people with a disability. This sparked a lifetime of giving to others.

I’ve always volunteered. I like the friendliness and getting to know people.

Volunteering with Rise

Lorraine has volunteered at a number of organisations over the years including Australian Red Cross, Silver Chain and Meals on Wheels.

She began volunteering at Creative Arts by Rise, formerly Creative And Therapy Activities, in 1995. The kitchen, pottery and painting rooms have all been lucky to have Lorraine’s help. She is now in the craft room twice a week. Every Monday she goes shopping and she also helps in the kitchen twice a week.

I’ll keep volunteering as long as I can. Looking at four walls and watching the idiot box all day would drive me insane.

Activities Coordinator Lesley Lee said Lorraine had made a huge difference in the lives of many guests.

Lorraine helps build social skills in the clients. She comes on outings and she also takes clients out shopping and eating. This allows them to get experience in restaurants, to read menus and order. She helps make sure they get their choices and helps build money skills.

Benefits of being a volunteer

As well as the smiling face and help she provides at Creative Arts by Rise, Lorraine has got a lot out of volunteering too.

It has boosted my confidence. I used to have panic attacks but I don’t have them anymore. I have a pin in my ankle and a plate in my leg so I am classified as disabled. Being here has also taught me to stand up for myself more.

Volunteers at Rise

Rise is fortunate to have a large base of volunteers who assist in many activities. These include:

  • arts and crafts
  • driving
  • cooking
  • administration.

For more information visit our website here.

Creative Arts by Rise Lesley Lee Australian of the year nomination

Rise employee nominated for Australian of the Year

Rise employee Lesley Lee is a humble woman; so much so that she didn’t want anyone to know about her 2017 Australian of the Year nomination.

But our Lesley is worth a bit of fuss. In May this year, Lesley will celebrate 10 years as an activities coordinator at Creative Arts by Rise, formerly Creative And Therapy Activities.

Arts background

With a background in arts and a degree in special needs, Creative Arts by Rise is a perfect fit for Lesley. She assists in the art room, helping guests create beautiful stitchings, crochet work and other crafts.

I work in the best place. I love coming to work. I like to push the clients’ boundaries so that they get something out of it too.


News about her 2017 Australian of the Year nomination came just weeks ago. The nomination is confidential, so Lesley doesn’t know who put her forward.

I’m humbled that someone thinks of me in that way. It is one of the highest regards that someone thought I was worthy of nomination. I have no idea who it was.

Enter Rise Client Services and Development Officer Joanne Reilly, who has a little more insight into why Lesley might be nominated.

Lesley is extremely modest and maternal. She makes people feel welcome. She is extremely inclusive and will not have anyone left out. Often people are shy and she will advocate for them. Even people who tour the craft room, if they meet Lesley they suddenly want to do craft because she s so welcoming.

Personal life

This kind lady is clearly embarrassed by the kind words from Joanne. However some experiences from her personal life shed a little more light on what makes her such a great coordinator and able to relate to the guests.

I have multiple sclerosis. Every day is a challenge. I have travelled the journey of a lot of clients here. I know what it feels like to be disabled. I know what it feels like to not have any friends. I know what it feels like to have family shun you. I know what it feels like to be frustrated as hell at not being able to get the help you need. So I can empathise. We can laugh at ourselves and have a good time.

Lesley is an incredible woman and definitely worthy of a little fuss.

Creative Arts by Rise

Creative Arts by Rise is located in Warwick. Numerous activities are held here. These include

  • Painting
  • Woodwork
  • Knitting
  • Cross stitch
  • Excursions

Creative Arts by Rise was formerly Creative And Therapy Activities (CATA). CATA merged with Rise Community Network in 2016. You can read more about the merger here.

Eathen Carruthers Community event

Eathen seeks support for community event

Rise Community Network client Eathen Carruthers is hosting a community event this month. Eathen is seeking support to make it a success.

Eathen’s story

Eathen suffered a traumatic brain injury at the age of three. The Riverton resident had to learn to walk and talk again. With the support of his family, he has overcome many struggles.

He now wants to give back to the community. He has spent many months planning and writing a book. Called Where It All Began the book is a historical book about Riverton. It also tells the heart-warming story of Eathen’s life as he overcame hardship.

In order to launch the book, he is hosting a community event.

Community event

The community event runs on 24th March 2017 from 3pm to 8pm. It will be held at Willetton Park Pavilion. The event has been planned with the help of his Rise Community Network support worker Jemma. The Gatsy-themed event will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the suburb Riverton. The event will allow people to remember the golden years and how much the suburb has changed. Eathen’s book will be for sale on the night. Activities on the evening include:

  • Bouncy castle
  • Petting zoo
  • Pony rides
  • 8mm film show
  • Fashion show in period clothing by Metro Model Academy
  • Museum memorabilia from Woodloe’s Homestead
  • Period jewelry for sale
  • Pet rock painting station
  • Buster the Bear with gifts for children

People are also encouraged to dress in 1920’s attire. Of the evening, Eathen said

It is a bit of a dream come true. I had been working on this myself before I started being supported by Jemma and I was ready to give up. I think it’s fantastic and I’m really looking forward to it.

Eathen Carruthers and support worker Jemma

The pair have been working very hard to make the event a success. Jemma supports Eathen twice a week and said he had made huge leaps since January.

He has more independence and more confidence in areas he didn’t before. I’ve also been helping him with healthy food choices.

How you can help

People can purchase tickets for the event on 24th March. Tickets are $5 for adults and free for under 18’s. They can be purchased by calling 0499 277 141. Eathen has also created a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the launch event. He also hopes to write a second book in coming months. Eathen plans to return all proceeds to his local community.

Greg Carstens Creative Arts by Rise

Greg Carstens proud of his footy artwork

Rise Community Network guest Greg Carstens has created some colourful artwork.

Greg attends Creative Arts by Rise several times a week.

He takes part in lots of activities including painting and stitching.

A stitch in time

Greg recently tried his hand at stitching in the craft room. He has created two artworks in his favourite football colours. Both the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles are his favourite teams.

The stitchings were framed for him to give to a friend as a gift.

Activity officer Lesley Lee said of Greg

He listened intently and worked very diligently. He only sought assistance when he needed such as for threading the needle. He is really happy with his work.

Next time we are going to challenge him to stitch a smaller pattern.

Creative Arts by Rise

Creative Arts by Rise is located in Warwick. Numerous activities are held here. These include

  • Painting
  • Woodwork
  • Knitting
  • Cross stitch
  • Excursions

Creative Arts by Rise was formally Creative And Therapy Activities (CATA). CATA merged with Rise Community Network in 2016. You can read more about the merger here.

Alderson Place open day Cockburn central

Alderson Place opens in Cockburn

Rise Community Network has opened a new hub to service the Cockburn region. Alderson Place officially opened on Monday 27th February.

The service hub allows Rise Community Network to expand service across the Perth metropolitan area.

Alderson Place Cockburn open Day art activities

Open Day

Rise Community Network celebrated the opening of Alderson Place with an Open Day.

Activities included information desks, face painting and a caricature artist. Creative Arts by Rise ran an art activity where people could create colourful speech bubbles.

Alderson Place Open Day Cockburn caricature artist

A presentation and ribbon cutting ceremony was held, before guests enjoyed lunch. The special guest was City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett.

Rise Community Network CEO Justine Colyer said it was a great step forward for Rise Community Network to expand into a new area. View the gallery from our Open Day event here.

Industry partners

Therapy Focus is a partner non-for-profit organisation. Therapy Focus also has services based at Alderson Place. The organisation was present at the Open Day with an information desk. They ran a sensory room to show different tools and activities to assist with sensory issues.

Alderson Place

Numerous services are based at Alderson Place in Cockburn Central. Services include

For more information call 6274 3776 or visit our website.

Celebrating people Book launch at Rise Community Network

First Celebrating People Book launches

Rise Community Network has launched their beautiful Celebrating People Book 2015-16. The beautiful bound book contains stories and photos of staff, volunteers and clients.

Celebrating People

The organisation’s current vision is Celebrate People. The inaugural Celebrating People Book is a way to bring this vision to life. The book took many months to prepare. There are plans to release a new book every year to share more great stories.

Book Launch

The Celebrating People Book was launched with a small event on Thursday 23rd February. People featured in the book, along with Rise Community Network staff and board members attended.

The book was revealed for the first time, to the delight of those featured.

Rise Community Network CEO Justine Colyer thanked those who appeared in Celebrating People Book 2015-16.

We’re delighted to launch the book which represents Rise’s vision – Celebrate People. We hope this is just the start and there are many more stories in years to come.

Guests enjoyed lunch, before a special cake featuring the front photo on the book was cut.

Celebrating people book launch Rise Community Network


Rise Community Network

Rise Community Network provides services for aged care, people with disability, mental health and youth in the eastern region. Read more here.

Rise Community Network client John Pearce Milperra

John Pearce beats the odds to walk again

Rise Community Network client John Pearce is a man who doesn’t give up. And he certainly doesn’t take no for an answer.

Following six months of small turns and tests, John (70) suffered a stroke in June 2014. He was initially told by doctors that he would be bedridden for life.

Following rehabilitation and support from Rise Community Network, John has a sunny outlook on life. He is determined to keep pushing the boundaries. 

Initial prognosis

John spent several months in Shenton Park Rehabilitation Centre before being moved to Fiona Stanley Hospital. He took part in lots of physiotherapy and was determined to meet his goals.

They drained the blood out of my brain. I was on thirty tablets a day and a drip too. My whole left side was affected – my leg, arm, vision and neck. I had to do vision tests and learn to read properly. My voice has come back now. Before this I’d never had an illness in my life.

John said he had a clear goal from the onset.

Therapists always asked what I wanted to achieve and I said it was to get out of my chair and walk. They kept telling me my chances were slim. I said don’t tell me I can’t walk.

Set backs

Several modifications were made at John’s family home in Stratton. Railing was installed throughout the home and the bathroom was renovated. This allows John more independence.

Despite John powering through his daily exercises, he suffered some setbacks. He had a nasty fall while walking. This left him with a fractured bone in his left shoulder. Another time he got an infection which also delayed his recovery.


As well as individual therapy, John also attended group therapy sessions, which he found beneficial. Now, he still has more goals to achieve.

I’m down to three tablets a day. I can get my hand straight and it doesn’t hurt. I’m up to 100m of walking with the aid of a stick. I’m standing much straighter, I used to stoop and my son called me a turtle.

I can just about touch my toes. I’m determined to get my shoes on so I can walk by myself. My favourite saying is ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’.

Help from Rise Community Network

John began attending Centenary House around 18 months ago. The social centre in Koongamia provides activities and socialisation. He attends each Friday and enjoys the social activities. The staff have also seen a vast improvement in his walking. In December 2015 he was unable to walk to collect a present from Santa. In 2016, he did the same walk unaided.

From there he started coming to Milperra. This is a respite home run by Rise Community Network in Mount Helena. He attends every few months and made many friends with other guests.

I love it here, it is like a holiday home. All the staff are very friendly and there is a only small number of guests. I’ve made friends with Rosemary and Ron. It also gives my wife a break.

Rise Community Network Aged Care Coordinator Karen Wittcomb said John was an inspiration to many.

John is so positive and determined. He’s come a long way since we first met him and all the staff at Milperra are proud of what he has accomplished.

Aged Care Services

Rise Community Network runs a number of programs to assist with aged care. This includes social centres, respite and home care. For more information click here.

Justin O'Meara Smith

Rise Community Network farewell’s Justin O’Meara Smith

Last week Rise Community Network bid farewell to Justin O’Meara Smith. Justin was Divisional Manager for People with Disability. Justin will be moving on to become CEO of Interchange WA.

Goodbye Justin

Staff had the chance to say goodbye to Justin during a morning tea. Justin said his time at Rise Community network has been amazing.

I am so blessed to have had the chance to work at Rise and receive so much support.

This has helped me to grow both in my professional career and in my understanding of how we as a support organisation help people to achieve their goals and live a great life.

Great support comes from vision, values and AMAZING staff…and truly you are all amazing.

Justin O'Meara Smith

Next chapter

Justin told staff he was excited about the next chapter of his career.

I am so excited about the next chapter in my career knowing a goal has been reached – being a CEO of a values and service based organisation.  Interchange WA is a great organisation and I am very proud to be joining their team.

People with Disability division

CEO Justine Colyer said Justin would be missed:

Justin is greater than the sum of his parts; he was so much more than just the Divisional Manager for People with Disability – he was just about the best kind of colleague to have.

People with Disability Manager Supported Accomodation Karan Cinquina said Justin was a big personality.

You always knew at the end of a meeting if he said ‘just one more thing’ that you were bound to be there for another hour!

Divisional Manager Aged Care Helen Dymond will be overseeing the People with Disability division in the immediate future.

Valentine's Day and Creative Arts by Rise

Valentine’s Day crafts at Creative Arts by Rise

Guests at Creative Arts by Rise are creating Valentine’s Day crafts this week. The crafts will be shared with friends and family to mark the day.

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is celebrated as the day of love all over the world. February 14th is the day people show each other how much they love them. The tradition of Valentine’s Day dates back to the 5th century.

Valentine’s Day crafts

Guests at Creative Arts by Rise are creating art for the occasion, including heart-shaped gifts. The activity will be run over the whole week so everyone can have a turn. Seasonal craft activities run each year and include:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Easter
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Christmas Day.

Creative Arts by Rise

Creative Arts by Rise is the former Creative And Therapy Activities (CATA). Activities and therapies are provided across a number of suburbs to people of all abilities in a safe and supportive environment. CATA merged with Rise Community Network in 2016. You can read more about the merge here.

Rise Community Network Youth services school holiday activities

School holiday activities a treat

Activities run by Rise Community Network’s Youth Services proved popular in the January school holidays. While school may be back, the memories will last a lifetime.

A number of different activities were held over the long break. These included indigenous wood burning and a Christmas stocking decoration workshop before Christmas. Youth Program Activities Coordinator Skye Groenveld said:

The Christmas Stocking decoration workshop was three days before Christmas. We had some beautifully decorated items. The young people also got a couple of presents to put in the stockings too!

Rise Community Network Youth Services school holidays activities

January school holiday fun

Following the Christmas break, Youth Services ran Water Bomb Blast, which gave the youth a chance to soak the staff. Youth worker Leslie bought in his musical equipment and facilitated a rap song workshop. The young people were encouraged to use their voices to make a group song. Leslie then tweaked the voices to make some crazy sounds.

Rise Community Network Youth Services school holidays activities

Getting physical

For the remainder of the month, the activities were very physical. Activities included:

  • Go Karting
  • Bayswater skate park
  • Fair Game – traditional sports with a twist
  • Kalamunda Water Park

Youth Services

These school holidays activities are just some of the way Youth Services interacts with youth. All activities are free with lunch included. For more information about Youth Services click here.