April 06, 2018

A helping hand for Waikato parents

Anyone with kids knows that parenting can be hard, and if you’ve never been shown ways to deal with kids who are playing up then how do you learn? That’s a problem Senior Constable Jackie Drayson was keen to solve.

The Putaruru policewoman’s been dealing with at risk youth in her South Waikato town for many years and thought some parenting classes would really benefit her community.

“We work with a lot of people from low socio-economic areas, people who haven’t had positive role models growing up, people who may have just got out of jail. A lot of these people have kids but don’t have the tools to parent so I thought some classes would really benefit our community.”

Debbie Trulove from the Transform Aotearoa Charitable Trust agreed and together with some help from community groups and the Fonterra Grass Roots Fund the “Building Awesome Whanau” classes were launched.

Jackie says the classes produced immediate results.

“We had people come to the classes who were really struggling, but we were able to give them tips on how to handle different situations., All of a sudden they seemed to have a lot more confidence and you could see them trying. One woman came in elated one week and told us she had put some of the things into practise and they had actually worked.”

Debbie says the trust was really pleased with the way people engaged in the classes and the grant from the Grass Roots Fund is really appreciated by the locals.

“Fonterra is really visible in Putaruru these days. First there was the factory that opened in Lichfield and created jobs and now they have helped us out with these classes. This really shows people how Fonterra is helping communities.”

Fonterra's Putaruru plant

The classes are based on the Maori ways of being, doing and knowing and Debbie says while some of the stuff they teach may seem simple, for some parents it’s the first time they have come across the techniques.

“The feedback we’ve received has been awesome. Some people came with their partners which was great as it’s really helpful to have both parents learn the same strategies and techniques and several of the people who graduated said they would like to come again.”

While the classes are teaching parents, Jackie says it’s about more than just learning.

“This is a small community and it’s really about parents making friendships and connections, helping them realise they aren’t alone and that there is support available from others around them. It’s these lessons which have really helped strengthen our community.”

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