...provides a sacred and fulfilling environment where companionship for life's journey is shared with those who have an intellectual disability.
G.I.F.T. is a community for those who have the spirit of children, regardless of their age. Physical and mental qualities may distinguish these "children" from others in the wider community. They may never grasp an academic understanding of our faith. Rather, their knowledge of Jesus comes through loving him. They know that the Lord loves them, and wants them to experience his love.
Val Gibson, a Parent
My daughter Jackie came to G.I.F.T. at the age of six and she is now 48. She went through the sacramental programme with Sr Jean and has been a part of G.I.F.T. ever since. She attends the Study Group and enjoys discussing the Sunday Mass Readings and what they mean to her in her life. She also enjoys afternoon tea at the end of the sessions, and loves the regular social evenings and outings.
For the residents, G.I.F.T. is their home. For those who attend the monthly sessions it is their place to get together. The Centre which links the two, is used by all of them.
Lijana Anketell, a Volunteer
I learned so much from the groups — their whole sense of welcome and celebration, spontaneity and acceptance, their simplicity and understanding of faith.
These were young adults and it was humbling watching their shyness fall away. Reading and writing of Bible passages, prayer and sharing of their stories was a hugely positive step in their lives. They blossomed.
Our G.I.F.T. Members
"Where I meet new friends and get to know Jesus." Lisa
"I have lots of friends at G.I.F.T. and now it is my home." Trisha
"Learning to grow and understand each others disabilities." John
"Important to get together and meet friends who share your faith." Jackie
"G.I.F.T. means joining in a group and singing songs of praise." Madeline
"G.I.F.T. is a place to worship God and share his love."
"I'm very happy to be here on my 30th birthday."
"G.I.F.T. is love—helping me to grow, and meet God."
"I enjoy coming to G.1.F.T. because I learn new things."
"G.I.F.T. is friendship, grief, love and kindness."
"It is a nice place to come when you get bored."
"G.I.F.T. is sharing, caring, friends, praying, singing and joy."
"Making friends, learning new things."
"I like being in the Study Group where we study the Bible."
I never realized what a wonderful gift G.I.F.T. would prove to be: a gift for all those people who have deepened their closeness to God, a gift from God to everyone who has helped to bring G.I.F.T. to life, a gift to parents and families, a gift to me and all who have helped.
Over the years many changes have been made, but the basics have always remained the same: walking with our handicapped friends as they discover the Lord, and we discover the Lord with them.