Conan Visser is a 30-year-old fitness professional with one mission: to create a cultural movement for a sustainable and positive future for special needs kids. That mission is possible through ICANIWILL, a charity sending influential young fitness professionals into schools to practice programs of empowerment. “ICANIWILL takes health and fitness-based programs into schools for free, to bridge the social gap for kids with special needs,” Conan announces. “Our physical challenges encourage them to keep pushing themselves and that they can achieve anything. So many people have never had any experience with these kids, so they end up alienating them,” he states. “ICANIWILL gives kids the self-confidence they need to overcome their challenges.”
Conan’s event management experience has helped him hold wildly successful events to increase awareness and raise funds for ICANIWILL, from the James Street Yoga Party to the Jelly Run. “The Jelly Run is a fun run with pools and slides filled with jelly and everyone throwing jelly at each other,” Conan explains.
The newest event for ICANIWILL is Jellified where well-known personalities are dunked in jelly across the City. #GetJellified is about team-building and is culture enriching, where a large local celebrity backing from personalities like Matt Rogers to local members of parliament are secured for dunking. “Businesses can raise money through Jellified,” Conan outlines. “It’ll be $50 to dunk yourself or a mate and $1,000 to drunk your boss or the CEO beside a celebrity or politician. For $5,000, become a platinum member with a presentation of an honorary plaque at one of the schools, and yearly updates on their progress.”
Having celebrated its second birthday, ICanIWill also celebrates being successfully integrated into over twenty schools. With a growth of 2,000 per cent, it is the fastest growing charity in Australia. “This is a game changer,” Conan declares. “80% of kids with special needs feel like they don’t fit in. 60% of Australia’s homeless have special needs. We need to show everyone this can be changed. That’s our goal.”
Photographer: Phil Winton