Monday, June 15, 2009

Lily newspaper star again!!

Lily is pleased her fame continues and she was in our local free newspaper, the Tribune again. She was in the paper last year with the headline "Lily wants a proper job" so this follow up was to say she now has a proper job, working at Farmer's department store.

Lily has this unusual charm - and the newspaper editor (who interviewed her) ended up getting Lily some free tickets to our local theatre Centrepoint - it is apparently a very unusual thing to happen.

Lily was delighted when the vicar announced the article at the end of yesterday's service - in fact so delighted she had to turn around and wave to her fans!! It was also lovely that the manager of Farmer's was among the congregation and could also be acknowledged for his part in this.

For any fond relatives reading this (especially those two who are referred to when Lily says she's aware not everyone has a job!), this is what the article said

"Dreams do come true - not just in Hollywood but in a Palmerston North storeroom.

Tribune readers met Lily Harper last year when she shared her heart was set on "a proper job" when she left Awatapu College.

By proper Miss Harper meant paid. Getting a job is a big enough challenge for any school leaver, but the Palmerston North 20-year old has Down syndrome. It's a life-long condition that causes delays in learning and development.

As part of Awatapu's transition programme, Miss Harper did work experience at farmers, an opportunity arranged by Phoenix Inc Supported Employment.

Since February, she's been on the Farmers payroll, working 10 hours a week spread over three mornings. Her primary role is unpacking lingerie.

"It's as pretty cool job" Miss Harper says. "It's pretty amazing having Farmers as a job."

She's aware that not everyone who wants a job has one.

"I feel sorry for them, that I have a job and they haven;t."

Providing Lily with support is Phoenix employment consultant Diana Cole.

"Sometimes I have ups and downs, but I have Diana to help me and it's going well and it's been really fun."

Ms Cole says Farmers has been accommodating about Miss Harper changing some of her hours to fit around everything else she does.

And that's a lot.

On Tuesday mornings she volunteers at Riverdale Kindergarten. She has difficulty reading, so makes up stories using pictures in books the children bring her or delves into her vast imagination.

Tuesday nights she attends Centrestage, a drama, music and dance class at the Dean Mckerras School of Dance.

At home Miss Harper acts out scenes by herself and with her brothers. Sometimes she films the performances on her cellphone. "It just comes out, drama, the acting bit. It makes me happy."

The English-born woman is a member of the High School Musical Group, an acting singing and dancing group for young adults with disabilities. It was founded this year by Palmerston North's Georgia Bergeson, who is now in Wellington preparing for her role in Starlight Express.

Then there's swimming, pumping weights at the gym, boxing and tennis on Wii (a video game console), Special Olympics and Down syndrome youth group Zone 21. She manages to fit in seeing her boyfriend Elliot, who also has Down syndrome. Miss Harper says Elliott is as good looking as High School Musical star Zac Efron.

The hit teen movie and Harry Potter pepper conversations with Miss Harper.

She's even named a narrow concrete staircase at Farmers "Hogwarts stairs" after the school of witchcraft and wizardry Harry attends because the stairs are "pretty twisty". "You can tell 'm a huge fan of Harry Potter."

One day she'd like to star in a movie of her own: "My real dream is to go to Hollywood."


Sharon said...

Yay! Go Lily!!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful article! I loved the bit about the Hogwarts Stairs.
And that was so great how Lily turned about and waved to her fans at church. Really made me smile.
have a great day,

Cyndi said...

Lilly shows what great potential all people have. Congratulations to her and I hope she has the job for as long as she wants it.

Stephanie said...

What a lovely young woman. I'm so proud of her!