Welcome to the LETR Victoria Newsletter, our first for 2020 and my first as the recently elected President of LETR Victoria. It is an honour for me to serve in this role and I am aware, and almost scared, of the large shoes I need to fill. One of the founders of our program back in 2008, and our past president, Michael Olsen has done so much for the Victorian Torch Run program. His shared vision, drive, and passion for torch run and focus on supporting the athletes has seen our LETR program grow from something small to undoubt-edly the fastest growing torch run program in Australasia. Thank you Mick for your outstanding achievements.
2019 was our biggest year yet and 2020 looks like being bigger again! We’ve got a lot of events planned, all centred around supporting people with intellectual dis-ability through the range of sports and programs offered by Special Olympics Victoria (SOV). As you’ll read in the Treasurer’s Report, our fundraising efforts have for the first time exceeded the $100,000 mark. This allows us to underpin Special Olympics (SO) pro-grams and events here in Victoria as well as support SO clubs with equipment and allied costs. We provided financial support to athletes attending the World Games in Abu Dhabi and the National Winter Games in Thredbo as well as supported the SO Winter Sports Training Camp at Mt Bulla. Once again we provided state medals and ribbons for SOV. Our torch run program has funded scholarships to nine SO athletes who recently graduated from Victoria University with Cert I and II courses in Workplace Education. Courses like this give ath-letes with an intellectual disability a greater chance of securing ongoing employment, something which many of us take for granted and is part of LETR Victoria’s “Whole of Life” vision in providing support to our athletes.
I’d like to also thank our major sponsor and partner in BankVic. Apart from financial support BankVic staff, from their CEO Mr Anthony De Fazio through to their office staff, have been magnificent in attending LETR related fundraising events and other activities continually demonstrating their strong support. We love that BankVic’s core values align with ours at the torch run and we thank them for their ongoing support of our program.
While fundraising is a significant portion of what the LETR does, I am particularly proud of what we have achieved in awareness of both the LETR and SO. Our fortnightly recruit lectures at the academy ensure that new police members know who the LETR are, what we do and how we can assist them in dealing with issues as they move through their policing career. They also know that can look to us for assistance should they be seeking support and opportunity for an intellectually disabled family member should they have one. This has also resulted in a broader uptake in support of one off LETR and SO activities and events with new recruits and constables attending events in growing numbers.
I hope you enjoy reading this edition of the LETR Victoria Newsletter. I intend to publish these more often so we can highlight all of the work we are doing in support of the intellectual disability sector. Just as important I want to show how your donations are being used. Our workplace giving program where recruits and other staff con-tribute a few dollars of their pay each fortnight cumulatively raises significant funds which allows us to do so much for our SO athletes. Our aim is to spend 100% of every dollar raised from the workplace giving program on athlete support. This is critical to our success.
We’ve got a range of events planned for the year ahead and would love to see you involved. Our annual Re-gional Engagement & Awareness Tour (REAT) will take place in October through South Western Victoria. It will then lead on to deliver the “Flame of Hope” to the Junior National