News from Child, Youth and Family - January 2013
Kids in care delight in Christmas celebrations
The weeks leading into Christmas saw our staff busy planning, teaming up with local community, wrapping presents, and preparing amazing feasts and activities in honour of our kids in care and their caregivers.
‘I just wanted to acknowledge and thank you for the fabulous party you orchestrated for
This feedback from a caregiver following the Christchurch ‘kids in care’ Christmas Party highlights just how valuable these opportunities are…
children in care and their foster families... It was a real highlight for our foster daughter to go to an event where she isn’t ‘different’ but the same as lots of the children present. Being in foster care often makes these kids feel the ‘odd one out’ but at such occasions they are in the majority and there is somehow some comfort in that’
Highlights of the Christmas celebrations for our children and families around the country included:
- The Christchurch care team, with the support of the Wigram Lions club, Countdown, Whitcoulls, local churches, the Police and Fire Service, put on a fabulous park party for around 130 of kids. The children were entertained by a magician and each child received a gift from Foster Bear. “The generosity of the community was really touching, the fact that they care so much about our most vulnerable kids is very heart-warming” says Adele Sherry, caregiver social worker
- Around 20 children and young people from Grey Lynn spent the day at Action World with caregivers, social workers, Santa and special celebrity guests. The adventure playground was the perfect venue where the kids (and adults) could play to their hearts content on the tightrope, climbing wall, blow-up slide and trapeze. A barbeque lunch with plenty of sausages and burgers kept everyone’s energy levels up throughout the day. Specialist recruitment and HR services company Randstad sponsored the day, and their staff also joined in by dressing up as Santa’s helpers. Donations of toys and Christmas gifts were kindly provided by Toyworld, Whitcoulls, and other local businesses - a fantastic example of a local business partnering with us to make a difference for kids in care.
- Teams at Whakatakapokai care and protection residence and local Supervised Group Homes held a Christmas family day at the residence, with families coming to share in celebrations with their young people. The day was jam packed with fun activities for the whole family - bouncy castles for the kids, carnival games, face painting, a petting zoo and pony rides, a wonderful spread of scrumptious food and live entertainment by local artists from the community. There was also a mass dance off - Gangnam style - between all the kids and their families.
- Over 80 Wellington based children and their caregivers were treated to a performance by Strike, a world class percussion crew, as part of the National Office Christmas party for kids in care. Two of our children in care were lucky enough to be invited on stage to try out their skills at drumming.
- The contact centre entered into the spirit of Christmas by producing a ‘Healthy Christmas’ cookbook, complete with pictures by children from the Grey Lynn site. “We asked the kids to enter a front cover drawing competition - at first we thought we’d just use the one, but they were so great we decided to use them all and have them as inserts between recipes” says senior practitioner Lois MacKenzie.
- Manawatu staff fired up the barbecues at Memorial Park in Palmerston North - the party had the support of over 20 local businesses. Santa even arrived courtesy of the Pahiatua Police!
- Timaru site had a real party atmosphere with over 70 kids and caregivers attending their on-site barbeque. Kids, caregivers and staff sat down to a fantastic spread, the fairy bread being particularly popular!
- Dunedin’s care team hosted a fantastic Christmas party for their kids in care, at the Middleton Road family home. The event was sponsored by Bunning’s Warehouse who not only supplied barbeque goodies, but also brought along Santa, sleigh and all! The kids enjoyed being entertained by Fillipa the Fairy and Jay the Juggler, many having their faces painted and getting a fun twisted balloon.