That people who have a disability are empowered to reach their full potential, dreams and aspirations, enabling them to enjoy a fulfilling life of their choosing as valued members of the community.
As a lead service provider we influence change. We work collaboratively with our service users, their support networks and the community to facilitate a range of options and opportunities which promote active participation for all.
Our Values are reflected in a culture which promotes:
Working together both at an organizational and community level to achieve the best outcomes for ARC, our service users, their support networks our staff and volunteers.
The spirit of determination and dedication which carries us through the highs and lows.
Encouraging and supporting innovation and originality
Embracing the richness of a truly inclusive community, by recognising the value of each person, their individuality, goals and aspirations.
Enabling individuals to take action and control by making decisions on their own, with no more or less support than that which is required.
Being responsive and accommodating in all that we do.
Acting with integrity and respect to all as equals.
We believe humour is essential to success. We applaud laughter and enjoyment and don’t take ourselves too seriously. We celebrate achievement. We dance.
Board of Management
ARC is governed by a Board of Management which overseas the strategic operations of the organisation. The Board of Management is elected from the members of the organisation at the Annual General Meeting with Board Members being elected for a 2 year term.
Our Current Board Members are:
President- Sonjia Alderson
Sonjia Alderson currently works in a Telehealth Coordinator role and was elected President of ARC following the 2008 AGM.
Being a Board member of ARC since 2007 Sonjia has witnessed ARC’s growth from a small organisation providing basic services to clients and families to the large and complex service provider ARC is today. Sonjia worked in health in SA and had a long association working with people with disabilities and their families during this time. After moving to Queensland a chance onversation with a friend with a child with a disability introduced her to ARC and the services they provided. This led to learning more about ARC and when asked to join the Board, readily accepted. Other interests include family, gardening and crafts particularly patchwork & quilting and lead lighting.
Vice President – Fiona Hiatt
Fiona currently works as a Child Health Nurse with the new Cairns Early Years Centre at Bentley Park College. Fiona has been involved the Cairns Autism Support Group in the past and was involved in the development of an Early Intervention Program for children with ASD in 1998 in Cairns. Fiona is the Far North Qld Regional Contact for the Tuberous Sclerosis Society in Australia. Fiona has been involved with ARC for approximately 14 years and has a son with a disability who receives support and services from ARC. Fiona has seen the growth of ARC over this time into an organisation that provides valued services and support to many clients and families within the community. Being on the Board of Management is a rewarding role in supporting the staff and the organisation with future development.
Treasurer - Shelley Dreyer
I am mum to 2 wonderful sons, the youngest of whom has been accessing services from ARC for the past 7 years. In 2008 I was nominated as a committee member and gladly took up this position as an opportunity to ‘give back’ to a great organization. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to learn about and be a part of this great service provider. This year I have taken on the role of Treasurer and with the support of a great Management Team have discovered another aspect of the organization. I have worked in Special Education in Cairns for many years and the past 6 years in Early Intervention. I am the Group Facilitator for the Cairns MyTime group, a peer parent support group.While both working full time, my husband and I are keenly practicing ideas for our retirement, our latest love being day trips on our motorbike enjoying this beautiful place we have called home for 14 years.
Board Member – Sue Forbes
Sue Forbes has been associated with ARC as a service user for almost 21 years. Her first contact with the organisation was when her son Adrian, who has Down Syndrome, was a newborn. The supportive friendly environment of ARC and the professional way the organisation is managed made joining the board in 2010 seem like a natural progression. Sue works as a Nurse Unit Manager in the private sector and is happy to share her experience in strategic planning, policy development and quality management with the board and members of the executive. Sue has served as Secretary of ARC during 2011 and truly values being involved in the growth of the organisation and its emergence as a leading provider within the disability sector.
Board Member - Cathy Aitken
I completed Year 12 at Isis District State High School in Childers, I then moved back to my home town of Bundaberg to attend TAFE Commercial and Office Studies followed by an Office Traineeship with Dept Public Works (QBuild). At the conclusion of my traineeship, QBuild Cairns offered me permanent work so I moved up here in 1989. From 1990 to 1998, I was employed by the Office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Far Northern Region, as an Administration Officer. During these years, I attended evening courses at Cairns TAFE College and earned an Advanced Certificate in Business (Management). I met Peter in 1992 and we married mid-1993 in Bundaberg. We travelled a lot before starting our family. Whilst pregnant with Nicholas (b.1999), I
worked on a Certificate in Child Care and Education. Michael (b.2001) completed our family. Both Nicholas and Michael have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and both boys became ARC service users in 2002 and 2004 respectively. The boys love staying at the “Holiday House” (Waratah Drive Residential Respite House) and are very fond of all their respite carers past and present.
I have been a parent member of two ARC sub-committees and am honoured to be appointed as a member of the ARC Board of Management. I am looking forward to being part of this exciting time of development and growth of the organisation.
Board Member- Dot Shea
After teaching in Primary and Secondary Schools throughout South Australia for 20 years, I arrived in Cairns in 1995 and was appointed as the Learning Support Teacher at St Thomas’ School in Mareeba. In 1996 I went into the Catholic Education Services as an advisor in Special Needs and then over the next 9 years as Catholic Education began to increase it services for children with disabilities, I became the coordinator and then the Manager of Student Services for the Cairns Diocesan Catholic Schools. In the late 1990s I became involved with ARC through the schools accessing the Toy Library. I was first appointed to the Toy Library reference group and then became part of the ARC management committee. During this time I was very involved in the extension of the facilities and the move from it being just a Toy Library to becoming the ARC Resource centre with qualified therapists as well as teachers offering advice on equipment. It was great being on the committee as it allowed me to have the knowledge to assist parents from our schools to gain the knowledge of what services were available to them.
In 2005 I was appointed Principal at St Teresa’s school in Ravenshoe and so I needed to resign from the committee. I did however continue to be interested in ARC and our school became a client of the Resource Centre which gave me the excuse to have long chats with Wendy when she came visiting in the Van.
In 2010 I returned to Cairns to semi retire and told Anita that I would love to get involved again with this wonderful organization whose ethos is based on being an advocate for children and young adults with a Disability. I was appointed as a board member in November 2011.