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Lily’s life goal is totally De-Lily-Licious

Lily, 23, has been involved with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Youth Programs since 2013 and most recently completed the 16-week PEERS 18+ (Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills) Program.

PEERS is an evidenced-based social skills program that helps teens and young adults who have autism and other social challenges learn ways to make and keep friends.

PEERS and the other programs Lily has completed have helped her turn a life-long passion for cooking into a potential career.

“My goal is to have a market stall or an online outlet for De-Lily-Licious where people can buy my cupcakes, cookies, brownies or Christmas cakes,” Lily says.

“Lily was a participant during our summer camp that was held in January of this year,” says Skye Brien, Coordinator Youth Projects. “She was involved in many activities such as archery, rock-climbing and high ropes. During the week, all young people worked in groups to increase their confidence and cooking skills in the kitchen.”

Lily also participates in the Youth Services Life Lab: Living Skills on Mondays. This involves independent living skills including cooking, budgeting and meal planning along with skills such as communication, teamwork and living independently. Lily also attends Life Lab: Innovation on a Thursday in Parramatta where she gets to express herself creatively.

But it was during individual youth coaching that Lily’s Cerebral Palsy Alliance youth mentor discussed with her the challenge of baking in an unfamiliar kitchen, setting up a stall and selling sweet treats to customers in order to utilise her newly learnt social skills from PEERS.

Lily challenges herself

“Lily started cooking with her grandmother when she was a child,” explains Lily’s mother, Amanda. “She’s a good instinctive cook but to turn those skills into a business she needs help to become more confident when she talks to people.”

While Lily feels happy when she is cooking, the thought of baking in the kitchen at the Allambie campus filled her stomach with butterflies.

“I was pleased I made the decision to challenge myself to do it but I felt really nervous because of all the people.” Fortunately on the day, Lily’s nerves soon calmed. Her Youth Support Worker and her mother supported Lily as her kitchen assistants and when the cupcakes, cookies and brownies were baked, they set up the stall in the foyer for Lily to make her De-Lily-Licious debut.

Lily admits she felt nervous again, wondering about the questions she would have to answer and if people would buy her sweet treats. “But everyone was happy with how the stall looked and I sold out within about 20 minutes. I was pleased they wanted to try my baking.”

Lily had already proven herself as a talented and committed baker when she made 100 cupcakes for her brother Sebastian’s wedding. A few weeks later, she baked another 100 for her cousin’s wedding. But thanks to the stall, Lily is determined she will be able to turn De-Lily-Licious into something bigger.

Programs increased confidence

Proud mum Amanda says Lily’s journey to this point began with the school leavers program through Cerebral Palsy Alliance. “Part of that involved Lily getting two business certificates and also learning about retail which required Lily to do some work experience,” Amanda says.

Amanda was also impressed by the wider Cerebral Palsy Alliance staff on the day of the cake stall. “We are totally grateful to Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The staff asked Lily lots of questions when they bought things from the stall and to see Lily overcome her shyness was great. All the programs she has participated in at Cerebral Palsy Alliance, including PEERS, have given her confidence in herself and a purpose in life.”

Lily says she has learnt a bunch of communication skills that are making her life easier such as how to get into a group conversation, how to talk to people and make new friends and how to stay calm during an argument. She’s also prepared to learn another skill – how to create the De-Lily-Licious website with the support of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Youth Team! So, watch this space.

Find out more

Cerebral Palsy Alliance provides a range of programs dedicated to the needs of young people. Visit our webpage to explore and register for one of our popular programs and take the next step towards achieving your goals.

 

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