Athena's story...

Born within a Greek cultural background Athena experienced her first and only convulsion at the age of 11 months and developed mild Cerebral Palsy. She attended the Mosman Spastic Centre for the first 15 years of her life. This environment (a medical model) was filled with various types of therapy, hospital stays and endless doctor appointments. In this type of environment she learnt to be the passive victim, the patient; the one who always received help and was never encouraged to contribute back.

But Athena’s first experience as a disability advocate and speaker was at the age of 13 years when she was voted School Captain in 1981. This year just happened to be International Year of People with a Disability. She received numerous opportunities to speak up about disabilities and to personally share how disability has affected her life. This is the year she found her voice and discovered her empowerment to find her place in her world.

After 15 years inside this medical model she integrated into mainstream school to experience ‘normal’ schooling to do her Year 11 and 12. Such opposition from teachers and doctors only intensified her determination to leave this medical model to interact within her wider world.

In 1983 Athena discovered a personal relationship with her God through the life of Joni Eareckson-Tada. Despite her disability Athena felt loved, accepted and valued in Gods eyes who had a purpose and meaning for her life. Joni as her role model Athena's passion for reaching out to the Christian Community on disability issues was ignited and in response developed lectures and workshops.

Between 1989-2004 Athena has had extensive involvement with the Camp Howard Disability Camping Ministries for People with Disabilities at the Anglican Youth Department. In this role she co-directed, trained volunteers and delivered Christian Education. She was coordinator of Wheelchairs Rule OK (WROK) for high school children with disabilities and co-founded and co-directed the Adults Weekend Escape (AWE) for adults with disabilities.

In 2000 Athena was involved in the Quest Para-Olympic Support Team providing: Meeting The Needs Training Packages to Christian communities and Kids Games. And in 2001 presented a talk at State Parliament as part of the launch of the Christian Disability Partnership Inclusive Congregations Program, which came out of the efforts of the 2000 Para Olympic Games providing disability awareness and training for local church communities.She also delivered a keynote address for the Christian Schools Australia National Policy Forum for Executives in Christian Education held in Canberra on: A Theology of Accessibility for Christian Schools.

Between 2001-2009 Athena lectured, guest lectured, tutored and supervised students in the Bachelor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies at the Australian Catholic University, Strathfield Campus. She has also guest lectured to theology students, teaching students and nursing students at the Australian Catholic University, Greek Orthodox Theological College, Mary Andrew's College, Sydney Missions and Bible College and Pastoral Care students at the Royal Ryde Rehabilitation Centre.

Athena has produced and presented workshops such as ‘Living Your Dreams’ for people with disabilities within her local community as part of International Day of People with Disabilities and disability training workshops for Accessible Arts and council workers within the local Council of Canada Bay. As the Personal Development Officer at Studio Artes, Athena developed workshops, ‘Secret Business Club’, and 'Boundaries Build Better Buddies'; addressing issues of disability, sexuality and relationships for adults with intellectual disabilities.

She has been on the Boards of PWD, Studio Artes and Accessible Arts, represented The Disability Council of NSW when addressing issues and experiences of specific needs from a Greek-speaking background perspective with the Hon John Della Bosca at State Parliament House.

In 2016 Athena, for 8 months was employed by Variety Children's Charity as a Workshop Facilitator in the "Just Like You" program delivering interactive disability awareness workshops to primary school children across Sydney schools.

Currenlty Athena works for herself delivering disability awareness workshops to both the christian and general communities; covering such topics such as Disability Awareness, Theology and Disability and Church Inclusion of people with disabilities.

Athena lives in the inner west of Sydney and enjoys script and screen writing, writing songs, singing, writing poetry, drawing and painting.