Tuam 27/7/20 – Angela


The new normal at AJ’s has given us the opportunity to make changes, some of them small, but have had a big impact.

The table configuration throughout the workroom and dining room has created more space for everyone.  The freshly painted tabletops have lightened up the room and the new sofa arrangement is more appealing.  A shuffle of lockers has created a new space, allowing the table tennis, model train set and the pool table the room they require to be used.  A couple of extra monitors, to allow personal DVD’s to be watched, has been appreciated.

Over the past three months since lockdown, we have had a steady supply of work dropped to us to be completed, which we are very grateful for – Fulton Hogan, OJ’s, Every Educaid, Alto, Griffin Press, Modular and Carton Pack.

Tuesday mornings, Jim K, Allan W, and Hayden D and myself, visit a library so the lads can issue DVDs.  We visit a supermarket to purchase fruit and supplies we will require during the week and amongst this we have morning tea.  This social outing has created many learning opportunities, which the three have embraced…it is very rewarding. 

Wednesday morning someone prepares the fruit for morning tea…peeling, cutting then presenting it on a tray.  It is always refreshing and a nice change instead of a biscuit from the tin.

Thursday morning we like to have something light and tasty for morning tea. We always have people keen to have a turn in the kitchen and recently we have had crackers with hummus, pikelets, and savoury pinwheels.  The crackers and pikelets were so well received we have had them twice!  

FOCUS 14/7/2020

After our time in Lockdown we are back into the swing of things at AJ’s. It was amazing how everyone dealt with the changes and adapted to the ‘new normal’ so quickly.

FOCUS is a part of AJ’s – getting clients ‘Moving More than Before’.

Last term we, at FOCUS, were busy with different walks, Rapaki, Halswell Quarry, Bowenvale, Rogers Track, Hagley Park and activities such as weights at AJ’s, skipping (with a skipping rope), running and exercises.

We have done some great walks with the Wednesday group – Harley A, Nick F and Justin and sometimes Matthew. We leave AJ’s at 0915 and head to the supermarket to get a piece of fruit for morning tea before we walk for up to two hours then return to AJ’s for lunch. Over time, these guys have developed a good rapport and the conversations are held and carried on naturally. They play games and interact well which makes the walking task very easy.

At the end of the term, when it rained every day for two weeks, there were many different activities done around AJ’s:

  • Weight Machine       –              To build strength
  • Skipping                       –              To increase Cardio
  • Circuits                       –              A variety of different exercises
  • Trampoline Park       –              A treat at the end of term

Monday to Thursday I do 1-1 with many people, Ben M, Georgia, Matthew, Anthony, Sam T, Christopher H, Joseph, Helen, Murdoch, Jack, Kyle, Daniel, Clement and Laughain. It is weather dependent – maybe a walk around the old stadium, two or three walks around the block, work on the weight machine or circuits up stairs.

FOCUS is going really well and I am noticing that people are coming to me to make sure they get their work out done before they head away for any community activities they may have during the day.

6 April 2020

Just for peoples information we have been using the facebook page to keep in contact with as many people as we can. You can find the page by searching for “@ajs2020”. The page also has posts from the staff about phone calls they have made to clients who cannot access the page.

Update 23/3/2020

Hi Everyone

AJs has now closed to further notice due to the Prime Ministers decision as of 2pm Monday 23rd

Yes, we were still open. AJs has now closed till further notice due to the Prime Ministers decision as of 2pm Monday 23rd

To keep everyone up-to-date with what’s happening at AJs, we have started a Facebook Page (AJ Day Options Trust) which we plan to add regular posts.  AJ staff will hopefully start adding small posts on how they are coping with the isolation so that the clients can still know what we are up to. We would encourage clients to also post to the facepage so their mates can see what people are doing.

You can also contact us by email jims@ajs.org.nz  Jim on 027 223 0935.

Jim and everyone at AJs

COVID-19 Update

20 March 2020

To Residential Provider, Parent and Caregivers


AJ’s is still open for the people who attend our service. 

To ensure we can stay open we are putting the following actions in place.

  • On top of theregular handwashing we encourage the clients to do, we will be requiring clients to either wash their hands or use the provided hand sanitiser when they arrive in the morning and at the end of the day before leaving (if your client is sensitive to hand sanitiser, please let us know so we can make sure they wash their hands instead).
  • At the end of each day all door handles and tables will be wiped clean with an approved disinfectant.
  • We are asking that clients bring lunch in their own container that they can eat it from and their own utensils (so if they are bringing food that requires heating please ensure that it is in a microwaveable safe container).
  • Most important is that if a client has a cough or flu-like symptoms they MUST NOT attend AJ’s.

We are putting these actions in place for the protection of all our clients and to enable us to stay open and continue to provide our service to as many clients as possible.

If you have any questions please contact AJ’s on 3749830 or

027 223 0935 or email – Jims@ajs.org.nz

We will keep you informed with updates as they occur. 

You can also check our website update page which we will try and keep up-to-date information on.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Jim Sullivan

Service Manager

AJ Day Options Trust

Risk 28/5/19

A beautiful day to be out on the water yesterday and our first session in the faster moving waters of the river. Our morning started with us having a chat about the plan for the day and having a quick bite to eat before we unloaded the canoes and got ourselves into the correct gear. Being our first week on the river, instead of the lake we had been on in previous weeks, meant we needed to learn how to get onto the boats from the river bed. This required team work and a good sense of balance as we needed to enter from the rear of the boat and then walk forward, keeping our hands on the sides of the boats so that we kept our balance centred and were able to get on the canoes without issue or taking a dip into the river. Once we had all gotten ourselves into position in the boats we needed to learn how to push off of the river bank, this required the two people already in the boat to place their paddles on the river bed as the person sitting in the rear, the steering seat, would push off the river bank and get themselves into proper Canadian canoeing position. After a small time spent being shown this we were out on the water and ready to learn how to manoeuvre around the reeds and use the currant of the river to our advantage. This was a whole new challenge for the group as it required the person steering to look ahead and pick a route down the river that would avoid the reeds or islands as they were called by the students. This proved to be very challenging as it meant they had to trust in their use of the paddles to steer and could not be looking down at the paddle checking they were doing it correctly. Once we all had a good idea of how to properly paddle down the river we set off on our first real canoeing journey. The journey took us down the winding river and around many different obstacles, consisting off overgrown trees, reeds and the natural twists and turns one finds on a river. The group did really well heading down the river before reaching the end of our journey and realizing they would now have to paddle back up river. Paddling against the currant is considerably harder than when travelling with the rivers flow. It required teamwork and every member of the team to paddle hard in order to get back to where we had started so that we could get back on land and have lunch. Following lunch we set out on the river once more, this time heading up river and under the low lying bridge. In order to get under the bridge we all needed to lean forward and protect our heads, this was a challenge for some of the group as we needed to be flexible enough to get our heads down low enough to safely pass under the bridge. Once we had all gotten ourselves under the bridge we continued up stream and embarked on our most challenging canoeing session thus far. This proved to be even more challenging than in previous years due to overgrown trees and a relatively unkempt section of the Groynes. The team did incredibly well to take on this challenge and pushed themselves far beyond the limits they thought they had. It was amazing to see the resilience of the group and how well they supported one another as we journeyed up this very difficult section of river. �

The Risk Group Journey 2018

At the start of the year six students: Finn Walker, Georgia Flanagan, Jack Murphy, Justin Samuel, Andrew Trieu and Daniel Ratka began their journeys with RISK. Our year started with an opportunity for us all to get to know one other and to see what goals, team work or leadership skills each student might work on. In order to do this we used an array of different teamwork and leadership based games that helped us to identify the skills that were most important to teamwork and leadership, as well as the area’s we felt we personally needed to work on. These are skills that are not only important within the confines of the R.I.S.K. Programme, but are important skills needed to succeed as you transition from school to new and challenging environments.

Our first full block for the year started in the first week of term two and would continue for the remainder of the term. This block was led by the ever capable and knowledgeable Wayne Keen, of Keen Adventures. We started the block on the still and slow moving water at the back of the Groynes, slowly introducing goals and getting everyone comfortable with the idea of paddling and being on the water, which was out of some of their comfort zones. To help everyone feel more comfortable and confident in the canoes, we set some challenges for the group like standing up in the canoes, or doing press-ups on them, all while being out on the water. As the group got better at paddling we changed ponds and started practicing on moving water where some of the group also learnt how to correctly steer the canoes. After a few more weeks and some more learning curves, like avoiding banks and trees, the group put all they had learned into practice by going on a Journey. Our canoe journey took us along the Avon River, starting on the corner of Stanmore Rd and River Rd and finishing by the docks at Kerr’s Reach.

The second full block was Climbing and Archery, led by Ben of the YMCA, The Roxx. This proved to be the perfect location and activity for the groups continued work on co-operation, leadership, and personal development; using a variety of games where everyone had to work together and rely on one other to ensure they all completed the activity safely. The group also learned about climbing, the equipment used and how to stay safe on the walls of the Roxx as well as the big walls found in the great outdoors. Everyone had turns at being climber, belayer and back-up belayer, this helped the group see how all of these roles are very important for the group’s overall safety, and that climbing wasn’t necessarily all about the person on the wall. As a break from regular climbing the group enjoyed some time in Clip n Climb where the group was encouraged to push themselves and learn to trust the ropes and their own ability. We also got the opportunity to spend some time learning the skill of archery. This was a huge challenge for some members of the group as dexterity and co-ordination are the key to succeeding in this activity.

Our last block was preparing for the overnight camp and bringing together everything we had worked on all year. Working in teams we made some Bivvies (survival huts) and learnt how to put up tents, as well as making a menu and buddy burners for the camp. We used Spencer Park for the camp, which allowed us to tackle the challenges of adrenalin forrest. The group also enjoyed the challenge of cooking with one another and being held personally responsible for the clean-up and dishes.

In conclusion this has been a really interesting and challenging year, sometimes exhausting but always rewarding. It has been great to see the progress that individuals have made becoming more confident and self-assured throughout the progress of the year.

We feel privileged to have been part of this journey and always remember “There is NO such thing as I can’t; there is only, I need help.”

Graeme Sullivan and Buggi Anderson
The R.I.S.K. Team.