From the desk of Chloe Wright
“If you have never been loved, can you still be a good dad?”. These words whispered by a young boy as he held the baby in his arms. He was one of a group of school children who, for some months, had been learning how babies interact and interpret the world around them.
Baby Rawiri’s mum had been bringing him to class for 7 months, the children made observations, wrote reports. They learned to interpret the sound of each cry. As the months passed, they saw the eruption of smiles, wanting it to be them who Rawiri reached out to. They learned how to interpret their own little brother’s and sister’s way of communication. These children learned Empathy. The boy had remained aloof, distanced himself from the baby, from the class. On the last day the class were asked “who wants to hold Rawiri?” The boy finally reached out, took the baby and sat in a corner, silent, as Rawiri put his head upon the boy’s neck and snuggled against him. That is when the boy asked; “if you have never been loved, can you still be a good dad?”.
Empathy is what we learn from the empathetic responses of our parents, at the knee of our elders. Without empathy and compassion little hearts turn to stone, the adult becomes angry, vengeful, dangerous. The social contract is broken. There is numerous research evaluations of this as evidenced on the Roots of Empathy website
It is no coincidence there is a rise of Charitable entities desperate for support, focused on mending lives – sticking the broken pieces back together, building confidence in the young, trying to erase the pain of never feeling loved.
Our greatest resource is our people. The vision of Scott Gilmour (I Have A Dream), Dame Lesley Max (Great Potentials), Lincoln Jefferson (Warriors Foundation), Graeme and Joanne Dingle (Dingle Foundation) so, so many more who did the hard yards to nourish the roots of social enterprise. They are the true heroes of our country. Without the dream and tenacity of these people, thousands may have remained broken, may have never reached their potential. The honors belong to them. The volunteers, those who put their hand out, unrewarded, to be part of ‘the solution’.
Governments look to data, are top down in considering support. Their political focus is on the next three years. We on the ground hear the stories, we are ‘bottom up’ in our actions. Our focus is to turn our gaze to the future, to ensure the ‘now’ can create future potential.
Which brings me to reflect; a personal view built on experience: Six years ago, I along with many others had great hope that with a new government, a young vibrant female Prime Minister, support for our people’s well-being, especially for mothers, government would take a turn from decades of a downward spiral of neglect. She left. I listened to Willie Jackson on talkback with Alison Mau; “be bold, be courageous” he told the audience. Well, in the case of our long work for women’s rights to birth, post-natal care, and maternal mental health, courage and boldness did not find favour. But as Brene Brown said, “if you are going to dare greatly, you’re going to get your ass kicked at some point. If you choose courage, you will absolutely know failure, disappointment, setback, even heartbreak. That is why we call it courage”.
Still, we must not bow and scrape to any government who might subdue us with promises when their ears are painted on. Be mindful of any government who, like the unscrupulous lover, once having their way, leaves us naked, cold and alone. Failure makes us humble and resilient.
So now we have sought a way to further support the real changemakers in society. We have launched The Village. A social cohesion network that, with the help of those who are already feeding the hungry (figuratively and literally) we connect in what is known as the ‘third’ place. This is a space where generational and peer support can grow. Through organic grass roots movement, we the people, can heal. We can make real the belief; “It takes a Village to raise a child”.
I make no apology for my political stand, nor do I fear consequences. Each of us carries the responsibility for the future. None of us are powerless.
A massive thank you to those who are real, authentic. Your gaze is on the horizon while your hands are stretched out in the present.
“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you. When you are loved for a long, long time, REALLY loved, then you become real” Adapted from The Velveteen Rabbit
Let’s get real.
Arohanui, Manuia, Loloma Levu
WE ALL PLAY A PART IN THE VILLAGE
Recently, The Village hosted its inaugural event at the Bethlehem Community Hall in Tauranga, a Kangatraining class. For those unfamiliar with Kangatraining, it's a workout class designed for mothers, where they wear their babies as they participate. This unique fitness session blends the joy of dancing to music with elements of cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and muscular strength training. Special attention is given to strengthening pelvic floor and abdominal muscles while emphasising correct posture. Our instructor for the day was the talented Aiddie Carnihan, ensuring that mothers not only had a safe and comfortable workout but also an enjoyable time.
Although the turnout for this event was small, it in no way diminished the enthusiasm and connections made by the mums who attended. This is precisely what The Village aims to achieve—connecting people within communities, especially those who may feel isolated or uncertain about reaching out. Consider a lonely mother who yearns for bonding time with her baby and the opportunity to connect with other mums; this is where The Village steps in.
Our current focus may be on pregnant mothers and new parents, but our broader goal is to nurture similar communities that share our values. Organisations like SuperGrans serve as an excellent example of a grassroots initiative making a positive impact. SuperGrans operates eleven agencies across New Zealand, each responding uniquely to the needs of their respective communities with kindness and a non-judgmental approach. They provide opportunities for individuals to enhance their knowledge and life skills through volunteer mentors, which include not only "Super Grans" but also volunteers from all genders and cultural backgrounds.
At The Village, we firmly believe that empowering communities begins with small steps, and we are dedicated to facilitating connections with available support services while fostering intergenerational cohesion. Our commitment is to strengthen the social fabric of our society by bridging gaps and nurturing meaningful relationships within our communities.
"IF IT'S GOOD FOR WOMEN, IT'S GOOD FOR EVERYONE"
I Have A Dream - Charitable Trust NZ
“I Have a Dream" (IHAD) is a charity organisation dedicated to empowering children and youth, known as Dreamers, to succeed in life and education. They achieve this through the unwavering support of caring adults called Navigators, who provide academic help, mentoring, and guidance. These relationships build trust and focus on each Dreamer's unique strengths and needs.
As Samuel Wright, a WFF trustee, wonderfully put it after spending a day with IHAD in Whangarei, “Talking with the Navigators in the morning gave me a better appreciation for all that they do and how passionate they are about providing enthusiasm, stability, and excitement in the lives of the children within their cohorts. The highlight was spending one-on-one time with some of the children where they excitedly shared about the experiences they have had and the future activities they are looking forward to."
Navigators also collaborate with community organisations to offer diverse opportunities and support. Additionally, IHAD partners with volunteers and local businesses to enhance resources and experiences for Dreamers. Based predominantly in Northland, “I Have a Dream" is focussed on reinforcing the vision that positive, long term, high trust, strength-based solutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of Dreamers and making generational change a reality.
Click on this link to find more information about this fantastic charitable organisation - IHAVEADREAM.
|"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." — Nelson Mandela
|Kids' Lit Quiz World Final
Pictured are the Winners of the 2023 Kids' Lit Quiz World Finals, Macquarie College from Australia with Quizmaster Wayne Mills (MNZM) that was held at Havelock North Intermediate School on the 22nd of July.
In a world where reading is often a solitary activity, the Kids Lit Quiz World Finals stand as a shining testament to the sheer delight of reading and the camaraderie it can inspire among children and in this case, intermediate school-aged children. Wayne Mills understands the unique power of literature to unite young minds, and this annual event showcases that power like no other.
This year's Kids Lit Quiz World Finals brought together five teams from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States at Havelock North Intermediate School. These young book enthusiasts engaged in the ultimate battle of book knowledge, a heartwarming reminder of the pure joy that reading can bring to young minds.
Quizmaster Wayne Mills described it as "one of the tensest finals we've ever had," referring to the nail-biting sudden-death round between winners Macquarrie College from Australia and New Zealand's Waimea Intermediate.
This year's event was particularly special as it marked the first time a World Final was hosted in Hawke's Bay, and it was the first World Final held after a three-year hiatus. The Kids Lit Quiz, founded over 30 years ago by Wayne Mills, has grown to include participation from around 10 different countries for 10 to 13-year-olds.
In a world increasingly dominated by screens, the Kids Lit Quiz World Finals remind us of the timeless joy of reading and the extraordinary bonds it can forge among young readers. It's not merely a competition; it's a celebration of the magic that unfolds when children immerse themselves in the pages of a good book. We eagerly anticipate the continued success of the Kids Lit Quiz and the inspiring journeys of young readers worldwide.
You can find more information about the Kids' Lit Quiz here and on their Facebook page.
WBOP FOUNDATION AND CHIRP
“Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning.” - Gloria Steinem
It was a night bursting with possibilities and plenty of goosebump moments when the Wright Family Foundation team had the opportunity to experience an incredible first glimpse into the future of healthcare for our children here in the Bay of Plenty. This groundbreaking approach to health will provide integrated wrap-around healthcare for our children from a uniquely designed, purpose-built facility newly named Te Waka Aorangi.
The 'Child Health Integrated Response Pathway,' or simply 'CHIRP,' is set to open in early 2024 once the final fit-out has been completed. The vision for 'CHIRP' was born out of the collective dreams of an innovative team of healthcare professionals, leaders, community korero, and that good old attitude of 'let's make it happen.' This collective dream of what could be possible if children are at the forefront has now been realised.
The Wright Family Foundation is proud to be a major donor to the Western Bay of Plenty Health Foundation, with Chloe now an integral part of the sailing of this waka in her recently appointed role as patron. The WBOP Foundation will oversee the delivery of 'CHIRP' and other critical community-initiated health projects identified by the Trust and its trustees. 'CHIRP' is a first-of-its-kind children's health service in New Zealand, one that demonstrates that with commitment, hard work, and an unwavering belief in possibilities, we can create a system that truly addresses the needs of our people. DREAMS ARE POSSIBLE!!
One Mother to Another Fundraising Event
Penned by Kylie Wright
One Mother to Another (OMTA) is an award-winning charity that, through the simple act of gift-giving, cares for and empowers parents and whānau with sick babies and children. They provide over 4,500 care packages a year to mums and carers across the South Island, aiming to comfort and support whānau during a particularly vulnerable time.
Recently, OMTA held a fundraising dinner in Christchurch. It was an amazing occasion organised by the team in the hopes of raising enough money to expand their support into new regions.
The event was a resounding success, and thanks to the combined efforts of all involved, OMTA was able to raise over $56,000! This means they can now extend their support to Timaru and Greymouth, providing care and encouragement to mothers with newborns in the neonatal units based there.
The event was beautifully arranged and well-thought-out, featuring a combination of silent auctions, a live auction, cocktails upon entry, and a delicious three-course meal. It is worth mentioning the incredible speech delivered by Sir Stephen Tindall!
We were in awe while listening to the journey Joy Reid (one of the founders of OMTA) and her husband, Geoff undertook to bring OMTA to fruition. Hearing their story, along with several other stories from recipients-turned-volunteers, was an incredibly touching experience for both Laura and I. To witness a beautiful initiative like One Mother to Another emerge from such challenging times is truly inspiring. Attending events like this reminds us that there are genuine heroes out there who are always thinking of others. We were honoured to be a part of it.
You can find more information about From One Mother to Another here
Warriors Community Foundation - League in Libraries
The Warriors Community Foundation is celebrating another year of success in fostering literacy achievement among primary school students through the League in Libraries initiative. In August, the 2023 League in Libraries winners were hosted in the Stacey Jones lounge at Go Media Stadium, the home ground of the NZ Warriors, who were playing their final round-robin home game. Some members of the Wright Family Foundation team were fortunate enough to attend as well.
The atmosphere was electric, with fireworks, enthusiastic cheers of "Up the Wahs," delicious food, and the ever-entertaining Mexican wave. It was an experience that left everyone on the edge of their seats, and the view of the game from the Stacey Jones lounge was nothing short of spectacular.
The evening was just one of the unforgettable highlights of the day for the League in Libraries winners. In the morning, they had the unique opportunity to meet with illustrators, gaining valuable insights into the creative process. Later, they visited Bluestar, where they received a Press Pass to witness the printing of their very own books and, for the first time, opened the boxes to reveal their literary creations.
The winners and their families also enjoyed a luxurious stay at the Grand Hotel by SkyCity, and to make the experience even more memorable, the children received personalised Warriors jerseys signed by the entire squad.
In addition to recognising the League in Libraries Supreme Winners, we extend our heartfelt congratulations to all the finalists in each category and their classes, who will have the opportunity to enjoy library visits as part of their competition prize.
League in Libraries continues to shine as a beacon of hope, instilling a love for reading and writing in the hearts of our future generations. We eagerly anticipate even greater achievements in the years to come.
To find out more about League in Libraries and other fantastic initiatives by The Warriors Community Foundation, click here
|Aotearoa NZ Spelling Bee R-E-T-U-R-N-S for 2023
The Aotearoa NZ Spelling Bee program is more than just a spelling competition; it's a platform dedicated to instilling an appreciation for the English language in students. While the spelling bee competition caters to students in years 9-10, valuable resources are available starting from year 1.
In recent years, the Aotearoa NZ Spelling Bee, like many other events, faced cancellations in 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic. This year, additional challenges emerged as the program encountered delays in getting started, primarily due to severe weather events across the country.
However, the Spelling Bee program is thrilled to be back, and this time it's bigger and better than ever before. The number of regional spelling bees is increasing from six to eight, thanks to increased sponsor support. Consequently, there will now be 24 finalists representing all corners of New Zealand at the highly anticipated Spelling Bee final in Wellington.
The enthusiasm displayed by schools participating this year is genuinely inspiring, with some teachers expressing that their involvement has prompted a greater emphasis on spelling and vocabulary within their classrooms.
As Janet, the Program Director of Aotearoa NZ Spelling Bee, aptly put it, "Several of the spellers last night were so nervous, and they were just so proud of themselves for overcoming their nerves and taking part. I think, for me, that was incredibly rewarding to hear."
For the finalists emerging from the regional spelling bees, there are exciting rewards in store. They will receive airfares for themselves and their parent/caregiver, granting them the opportunity to compete in the Final, scheduled for Saturday, November 4th. The ultimate achievement awaits the Spelling Bee Champion—a prestigious 2023 Spelling Bee Trophy and a scholarship of $5000 to further their academic pursuits.
Watch as they embark on an exciting journey of words and knowledge, nurturing a love for words that will undoubtedly last a lifetime!
You can find more information about Aotearoa NZ Spelling Bee here.
|"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today." — Malcolm X