From Courtside to Card Creation: Heath Vale’s Journey with the Shepparton Gators and SLES

From Courtside to Card Creation: Heath Vale’s Journey with the Shepparton Gators and SLES

Heath, a young man full of ambition and a love for basketball, has transformed his passion for into a groundbreaking project with the Shepparton Gators. With the support of the NDIS SLES (School Leaver Employment Supports) program through are-able, Heath has developed and launched an innovative series of basketball trading cards to raise funds for the club.

Heath’s project began last year with work experience as an assistant coach for the Gators. His dedication and enthusiasm left a lasting impression, and he was welcomed back anytime. It was during his SLES sessions that Heath conceived the idea of creating basketball trading cards, which would be sold alongside other Gators merchandise.

Supported by his Employment Preparation and Engagement Consultant, Tracey Toy, Heath devised a plan and presented it to Head Coach Josh and Gators Director Steve. They embraced the concept, giving Heath the green light to lead the project. This initiative required Heath to secure sponsorship to cover startup costs, a task he tackled with determination and creativity.

Throughout the SLES sessions, Heath worked on the design and content of the cards. He created a player questionnaire, presented it to the team, and received enthusiastic support. His dedication to the project included attending training sessions, assisting at home games, and contributing to various game day tasks.

The project gained momentum when a local graphic designer joined as a sponsor, impressed by Heath’s vision. The designer helped create the card designs, special envelopes, and sealing stickers. Additionally, are-able provided sponsorship to cover part of the printing costs and Graceful Guides Co. to cover the remainder.

The collaboration resulted in a set of 20 beautifully designed trading cards, ready for their big launch at the Gators’ home game weekend. This project has significantly boosted Heath’s confidence, helping him step out of his comfort zone and interact with community members, sponsors, and players.

“The opportunity to create and pull together this project as part of my SLES at are-able has given me the confidence to work around my barriers to achieve something special for the Gators,” Heath shared.

Heath’s involvement has not only benefited him but also inspired other SLES participants. His success story showcases that overcoming barriers can lead to remarkable achievements and community contributions.

The Shepparton Gators, Heath, and the entire community eagerly celebrated the launch of the trading cards last Saturday, May 25th. This initiative is a testament to what can be achieved with creativity, determination, and the right support. Cards will be available at Gators Home games until sold out.

If you are interested in more information about are-able’s Disability Employment Services (DES) or School Leaver Employment Supports (SLES) program please contact our team today.