Whoever knew a movie about a mischievous rabbit and his rambunctious pals would end up raising a (w)hopping $133,809 for Sony Foundation Children’s Holiday Camp Program. Yep, you read that correctly. A movie about a rabbit raised an incredible amount for Sony Foundation but it’s not just any old rabbit, it was in fact the highly anticipated, live-action, animated comedy adventure of none other than everyone’s favourite, PETER RABBIT!
With thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing, screenings of Peter Rabbit were held at cinemas across the nation on Sunday March 11. The advanced screenings were a special preview, allowing audiences to be among the first in Australia to catch this super popular release. With an all-star cast of James Corden and Australia’s own Margot Robbie and Rose Byrne, the film had already received worldwide acclaim and is proving to be just as popular In Australia.
The funds raised from this charity screening will enable over 10 new camps to be funded in 2018, including three new camps in Adelaide, Melbourne and Townsville.
This year marks 20 years Sony Foundation has funded this unique program which empowers high school and university students to take on the responsibility for the care of children with special needs over four days, allowing their families to receive invaluable time off. This year, over 1200 student companions and over 650 children with special needs across more than 50 schools and universities in Australia will benefit from this truly life-changing camp experience which is provided at no cost to the families.
Elizabeth, a single mother of three children who all have varying special needs knows firsthand the value of the camp program. Since they were born, Elizabeth hasn’t been able to spend a night away from her children until the end of 2017 when Elizabeth’s two daughters, Isabella and Sofia, were given the opportunity to attend their first ever Sony Camp. It was here, that Isabella and Sophia were partnered with their companion, year 12 Pymble Ladies College student, Maxine.
With her daughters both away at Sony Camp, Elizabeth was able to spend rare one-on-one time with her son and even had time to herself throughout the day. “Sony Camp is wonderful because otherwise we wouldn’t get these experiences. Parents like me wouldn’t get the opportunity to get a break. Having a child with special needs is really hard, double the work, like a having a baby constantly.” Elizabeth, Sony Camp mother
The Sony Camp Program not only provides respite and impact for the families, but equally so for the companions who take on the full-time care of these children. Companions like Maxine have been so inspired and moved by their time as a carer companion, some are considering careers in the disability sector. “This experience provided so much perspective and insight, and a huge new passion for looking after children of special needs. Straight after Camp, I went home and told my parents I was pursuing teaching for special needs children as my career. I really hope this becomes a reality for me, as I believe there isn’t anything much more rewarding than being able to help form and grow these kids, who despite challenge have found to way to be so very happy.” Maxine, Year 12 Camp Companion, Pymble Ladies College
Recently, Maxine, Elizabeth, Sofia and Isabella shared their Sony Camp experience on Channel 9’s TODAY Extra. To watch their segment, click HERE
The charity screening even had Sony Foundation ambassadors Natalie Bassingthwaighte, Anthony Minichiello, Terry Biviano and Sally Obermeder all calling on their fans to hit the movies in support of Sony Foundation’s Children’s Holiday Camp Program, ensuring a huge amount of awareness about this beautiful program was raised.
With thanks to Sony Pictures Releasing and Gold Corporate Partner, M2M, for securing pro-bono media support across TV, Print, Radio, outdoor advertising and online media as well as invaluable editorial support from an array of media partners from News Corp Australia, Channel Nine and Seven Network ensuring the message of the charity screening was spread far and wide!