Today is Wednesday, 16th of October, 2019
This is a residential programme that offers women and children a place of safety, support and education. We place children at our centre, with the child’s wellbeing paramount at all times. Education is offered around child development, life skills, the effects of family violence upon children, cooking, hygiene, soul space, breathing and relaxation, and many other individually tailored programmes of support.
After the initial 26 weeks of the programme, we continue to work with and support mothers and children in their own homes, in their own communities.
We are fortunate to be in the lives of these young children for a moment, to offer karakia, and to help build a new routine of happy memories for these families.
We offer transitional accommodation in three blocks of flats in Hamilton. Our programme is 13 weeks in our accommodation and 13 weeks in supported community accommodation. Supervision and support is provided as well as assistance in finding employment and alternative accommodation when people are ready to return to the community after release from prison or other institutions.
There is a real community feeling for those in our supported accommodation. The new residents beginning their journey with us are looked out for and after by the more senior residents, who have themselves been in our support for some time. There is a culture of awhi and mentoring. These residents know what it is like, what it feels like and have strategies to deal with the situations they know all too well. Some residents have had twenty years in prison and had nobody to return to upon their release.
Our support varies depending on the needs of the individual and their whānau, but can include, support with Work and Income, any medical assessments, we provide a fully furnished flat, food parcels, counselling, help with Probation, reconnecting with children and families where appropriate. We work to focus on their goals and how they can be motivated towards achieving them. We understand restrictions and conditions from Probation, so can work around these using the constructive relationship we have with Corrections.
We are constantly exploring new projects and ways of providing pro-social support and interactions to restore the humanity to those we journey with. We push ourselves to be better at what we do and we strive to offer justice through service and hope.
We also have contracts with Department of Corrections to provide bespoke community-based reintegration.
We have three main areas of work; supported bail, mentoring, and programmes delivered in a camp setting.
Our youth service work is with those aged up to 17, to provide support, advocacy and mentoring for young people who have come into contact with the court system. Working with whānau and other support services, we want to resolve problems and get our youth back on track; often this means figuring out what track they want to be on and empowering them to work towards their goals.
We work with our rangatahi to explore some of the ‘tough stuff’ in their lives; the barriers to their own success, the things that get in the way of what they want to do with their lives, as well as finding opportunities to celebrate achievements. It’s all about positive role modelling; working alongside the young people to support pro-social attitudes and behaviour.
Youth camps are also an important part of our work. Camps provides an opportunity to take our youth out of negative and dis-empowering places into an intentional, supportive community that celebrates who they are. It’s also an opportunity to have fun and just enjoy being a young person, to run and scream and laugh. We get to see their true colours — not their gang colours. We see how truly kind, thoughtful, creative, intelligent and caring these kids are. It is a unique opportunity to build a deeper relationship and have conversations about life, who they are, who they want to be, and what they want to stand for.