Coke Can Turns Into 135K For Hunter Kids

A local Hunter not-for-profit, providing life-changing services for Hunter families with children
with autism will be the beneficiaries of this year’s Hunter Charity Ball, ARTC Executive
General Manager – Hunter Valley, Alec Mackenzie said today.

Thornton-based Aspect Hunter School, a specialist education provider focussing on school
readiness for 4 and 5 year olds with autism, caters for more than 100 students across the
Hunter and Port Macquarie Areas, with students aged from 4 to 12 years. It also has a range
of satellite classes located in Cardiff, Belmont, Waratah West, Tarro, Abermain and Port

Autism Australia and the school were recently presented with a cheque for $135,000 thanks
to another successful Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) Charity Ball – the primary
annual charity event of ARTC’s Hunter Valley division.

“We are excited about the difference this will make to our ability to spread the reach of our
services in the Hunter Region. We will be offering a broader range of services to more
families and their children,” Liz Murray, Principal – Hunter, Autism Spectrum Australia said.

Mr Mackenzie said the Ball provided a chance to give back to the community.

“Our Hunter Valley business is as local as it comes, we live here, we work here and we are
part of the community – and that’s why it’s very important we do our bit and recognise the
support the community gives us,” Mr Mackenzie said.

The Aspect Hunter School helps children develop a range of skills to prepare them for less
specialised settings. Skill development in the areas of managing own behaviour, managing
the sensory impact of their environment and building communication and social skills are the
primary focus using evidence based practices.

The annual ball is an idea that was originally formed by the ARTC Hunter Valley Social
Committee as a way of investing the money raised from office vending machines and to give
the proceeds to a local charity.

“Now in its fourth year, and thanks to local sponsors, nearly half a million dollars has been
raised for Hunter charities all due to that original simple task of dropping a couple of dollars
in the staffroom vending machine for a can of coke or chocolate bar,” Mr Mackenzie said.

Around 500 people attended the sold-out charity ball in March.

Major sponsors include Leighton Contractors, Downer Group, EAO entertainment,
McConnell Dowell, Lycopodium, Travel Managers, GHD, Laing O’Rourke, John Holland
Group, Calibre, Aurizon, Ansaldo STS, Rhomberg Rail and Aldridge.

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