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Interview with Blackbaud $10K Challenge Winner: Sylvanvale

This video has been an opportunity to showcase people who aren’t often seen or heard.” – Jake Lyandon, Sylvanvale

When Blackbaud gave a donation of $10,000 to the deserving Sylvanvale Foundation at this year’s bbcon, it was the stories we heard after that made it even more worthwhile.

Last week Jake Lyandon, Sylvanvale’s Digital Specialist, came into our offices to share with the Blackbaud team what our donation would do for their Sydney-based charity.

If you haven’t heard of Sylvanvale, prepare to be inspired and overwhelmed by their passion for what they do. Sylvanvale supports over 700 children and adults with a disability, and assists them to live and participate in the community.

“We see the person, not the disability,” said Jake. “We have been helping people with a disability discover their passions for almost 70 years.”

Jake has worked with Sylvanvale for 5 months now. He brought the passion of their staff, customers and supporters to life in their video entry for the Blackbaud $10K Challenge.

He worked with customer Aly, the star of the video, to share the passion of people with disability.

Aly was on holiday in Broome when she was told she was part of a video that won her community $10,000. Previous to her voiceover, Aly was shy and reserved but her confidence soared with her inclusion in the project.

Jake said Aly was over the moon when she received the news. “She’s really come out of her shell. It’s been so fantastic for customers like Aly. This video has been an opportunity to showcase people who aren’t often seen or heard.”

At Sylvanvale, Aly, like all their customers, are people who have never had the opportunity to be part of the workforce, let alone the belief their creative work could make a difference.

That’s where programs such as Enterprising Women and Art with Heart step in. The $10,000 will go towards supporting programs such as these, and creating a better life for people with disability.

Enterprising Women started with an idea to move beyond group activities and try something new. A few ideas were thrown around, but they landed on soap making, something which the Sylvanvale team didn’t expect to catch on or succeed as well as it did.

The group of ladies were enjoying the creative process and the products they were making so much, that they decided to start producing succulents too. As their talents became more obvious, the team started to talk about marketing and selling their products.

Just last weekend, Jake was at a street fair to sell soaps and succulents their customers had made.

Sylvanvale was founded in 1947 when a group of parents of children with disability wanted a better quality of life for their kids. Its very foundation was in the community and Sylvanvale remains closely connected to it.

“You don’t often have that in a lot of organisations but many people within our organisation have been personally touched by disability somewhere in their life. I think that’s why we’re passionate about what we do, because we’ve seen it firsthand.”

A $10,000 donation to a charity in the pre-planning stages of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is extraordinary. It’s a significant time for people with disability, their families and their carers.

On behalf of the Blackbaud team, we hope our donation will help Sylvanvale make a difference and a positive impact in the lives of people with disability.

Thank you for sharing the passion with us.

To donate to Sylvanvale or to learn more about their programs, please visit http://www.sylvanvale.com.au