Awareness & Understanding
Aware Bears aims to create an awareness of Cerebral Palsy and improve people’s understanding of the challenges people living with CP and their families face.
We aim to change the perception of what people with disabilities are capable of. We highlight and celebrate the achievements of those living with Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities.
Accepting a disability is a process with many ups and downs and Aware Bears wants to ensure that people are able to focus on the positive.
What We Offer
Aware Bear Visits
Helen and Harold are the Aware Bears. Helen visits children and families living with CP, Harold visits schools and organisations.
Letters of Support
In today’s world children face a number of challenges. The foundation for these challenges could be a disability, an illness or emotional.
Book a Talk
Lesley Potgieter was born with cerebral palsy. Lesley attended Vista Nova as a pupil and was mainstreamed in Grade 7…
Links & Resources
Aware Bears is part of a community who assist people living with CP and various other disabilities to focus on the positive…
What Do We Teach?
Never-ending Stories - Audio Stories
In today’s world children are bombarded by the visual. This has a negative impact on the development of their imagination. When children are exposed to the magical world of stories they are never alone. Stories expand the imagination and vocabulary. If a child is introverted, shy or uncertain reading often helps them to cope with emotions that they find difficult to identify but can often observe in the realm of stories. Listening forms an integral part of reading and these stories allow children to listen and play at the same time. Each story is about 20 minutes long. The language is designed to extend the listeners vocabulary. The stories are for ages 4 to10. Questions at the end of each story are there to test comprehension. In some of the stories there are activities that can be done and form an extension of the story itself and also help the child draw from their own experience. Developing a love for books and stories allows children to share with others and explore their emotions safely. Sometimes being able to identify within a character makes it easier to cope with their situations in their own lives.
Martha Mouse’s Book Reviews
Martha Mouse is in charge of the bookshelf at Never-ending Stories. She reviews books for children of all ages to help them when choosing a book to read (whether they are going to their library or to the bookshop). Click here to read Martha Mouse’s book reviews.
Never-ending Stories - Language Enrichment
Lesley is a qualified primary school teacher and believes very strongly in introducing a love for books and reading from an early age. Language enrichment allows us to lay the foundation that facilitates the understanding of work in the classroom. Lesley works with children at the Carel du Toit Centre and at Project Playground in Gugulethu Langa (Cape Town). Here she instils a love for books and reading in children. The characters who live in the Never-ending stories bookshelf come to life during these sessions and allow children to connect with a character beyond the story. Click here to finds out more about our Language Enrichment programmes.
Never-ending News - Newsletters
Never-ending News is an extension of Never-ending Stories. It is a monthly 1-page newsletter that provides an opportunity for children to spend some quality time with their parents while working on activities related to the theme of the month. There is a strong focus on developing language skills. There is also an update on what is happening with the characters that live in the bookshelf at Never-ending Stories. Never-ending News is addressed to the child. This builds a level of excitement and anticipation. The Newsletter is aimed at children from pre-school to Grade 3.
Words from Kids & Parents
‘Its Helen’s last day with us today and she will be going to visit another special child with cerebral palsy. We were happy that she visited my brother. Now my brother’s story will be in the journal to share with other people around the country. Best of all, I got to tell my class about Helen and raise awareness and hopefully they will pass this message of hope and remember that if someone is different don’t point, stare or laugh, but rather understand, care and love.’
‘Lesley Potgieter has presented Never ending Stories to a select group of hearing impaired children at the Carel du Toit Centre for the past 3 years. The children have always loved these sessions and attended with enthusiasm. Lesley uses a variety of techniques to develop the children’s imagination, creativity and thinking skills. She guides their thinking in a gentle and playful manner and there is tremendous benefit in the development of their listening skills and auditory attention. The class teacher was so impressed by the quality of all Lesley’s props and the beautifully designed and colourful newsletter which each child received, highlighting that weeks’ goals as well as including rhymes, riddles and stories. While participating in the sessions, the children are able to escape into a magical world where anything is possible.’
‘To have Helen with us as a family was really a blessing. I now have the strength to really stand up for my grandchild.’
Words from Kids & Parents
‘Project Playground has been working with Lesley and her never Ending Stories for several wonderful years. Project Playground recognises the challenge of illiteracy and poor reading skills among young children, and have, with the help of Lesley and her team, addressed this problem. Thanks to Never Ending Stories we have managed to encourage children’s imaginative abilities, the curiosity for books and the love of reading which is immensely important for their future. Lesley is an extraordinary person, a passionate teacher, and wonderful motivation for our children and staff, and she lights up the little faces of her students each time she comes. Les is a valuable contribution to our organisation and we treasure her knowledge and insights of story telling and teaching.’
‘Dané is gemnerally terrified of teddies but she immediately took Helen and started to rub her. This was a good sign. Just the thought of someone caring this much, to do something like this warms my heart.’
‘Kim has been having difficulty verbalising to people how their words and actions impact on her. Helen has been great for Kim in that she has found a voice to speak without worrying about repercussions on herself because it was Helen who is talking – not Kim’