Class of 2010
Chief Operating Officer, Active Eight
What started as a university assignment, turned into a growing entrepreneurial venture, expanding faster than Mikayla Ivanov could have ever expected.
Originating as Tippy Toe Co. Mikayla launched the inclusive dance and movement program for children and young people with special needs in 2013. The aim was to create a social community which provided co-curricular activities for children with special needs, after discovering the lack of options available to families.
The first dance class in 2013 held an attendance of ten children and ended with families in tears of joy, expressing that their children had never before been granted the opportunity to participate in ballet classes. From here, Mikayla and her co-founder Zachary Fook worked to co-develop a program with parents for their children to discover what they desired and what they had previously experienced.
‘Hearing that some parents had tried to take their children to yoga only to be asked to leave was horrifying‘ Mikayla says, ‘At Active Eight we are passionate about inclusion.‘
After Tippy Toe Co. Saturday dance classes reached capacity in January 2018, Active Eight was launched as Brisbane’s first one-stop therapy, program and learning hub.
Offerings at Active Eight include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, exercise physiology, yoga, dance, ninja warrior, drumming and more. Therapy and inclusion is reimagined as programs move away from traditional, clinical treatments to more play-based therapy.
This move away from the traditional white-wall therapy has been positively received by families. The children are immersed in programs that veer away from traditional methods and are instead co-created and designed by therapists to stimulate, develop and activate children and young adults full potential.
‘Our therapists and program facilitators are successful and amazing not because of their qualifications but the way they connect with the members and take them on adventures’ says Mikayla. ‘They are not in physical therapy but instead they are in a story, jumping over lily pads or being superheroes.’
Speaking highly of Courtney Crack, the original lead facilitator and co-Founder of Tippy Toe Co., Mikayla credits the Active Eight team and their passion that drives Active Eight.
Mikayla collected an array of accolades and titles in her final year at John Paul College including School Vice-Captain, Pro Diligentia, three performing arts awards and a volleyball sporting award.
Being inspired by the vast range of co-curricular activities available to her at JPC, Mikayla was shocked to discover that many children, and those with special needs, did not have access to such facilities and the social and developmental benefits they provide.
Mikayla hopes to continue to expand upon Active Eight’s all-inclusive and holistic one-stop-shop model to introduce more services and reach more families in the community.
Continued involvement with JPC has never wavered, as Mikayla assists through Alumni events, panel nights and student presentations alongside the engagement to her partner and JPC Alumnus Chris Johnson (2008).
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