Hol­i­day fun cheers up Star­ship kids

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

An ex­tra dose of fun and en­joy­ment is just what the doc­tor or­dered for chil­dren at Star­ship hospi­tal th­ese school hol­i­days.

Youth­town, a char­i­ta­ble trust that has been help­ing young peo­ple ex­press them­selves and de­velop self-es­teem for more than 75 years, has now de­vel­oped a hol­i­day pro­gramme for young peo­ple who are ei­ther in hospi­tal as a pa­tient or a vis­i­tor.

Youth­town’s pro­gramme di­rec­tor Sian Neary thought it was a great idea to give young pa­tients and their sib­lings a chance to en­joy the fun ac­tiv­i­ties other chil­dren get when school’s out.

She says the staff at Star­ship are rapt with the en­ter­prise, which is likely to be­come a reg­u­lar hol­i­day fix­ture.

“Even in a fan­tas­tic hospi­tal like Star­ship, life can get a bit bor­ing for the chil­dren in the wards and for the brothers and sis­ters who, dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, come visit­ing with their par­ents,” she says.

Sian or­gan­ised the project late last year af­ter be­ing ap­proached by hospi­tal play spe­cial­ist Rata Rir­inui.

Rata says she is thrilled with the out­come be­cause even though each ward has a play room, it has been diffi to fa­cil­i­tate the ex­tra chil­dren that visit dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­ri­ods.

“We’ve had lots of pos­i­tive feed­back about how great it is to have some­thing here,” she says.

“It’s a re­ally great ser­vice.”

The ac­tiv­i­ties Youth­town has pro­vided Star­ship th­ese school hol­i­days in­clude Maori weav­ing, cre­at­ing mo­saic mir­rors and mak­ing stars which will be­come part of a gi­ant mo­bile to hang in the hospi­tal’s jun­gle theme atrium.

There are re­sources pro­vided to cater for up to 30 chil­dren, with ac­tiv­i­ties or­gan­ised daily into two twohour blocks.

Other ac­tiv­i­ties in­cluded mak­ing photo frames and col­lages, as well as face­paint­ing, dress-ups and sto­ry­telling.

And for those who wanted some quiet time on their own, Youth­town took along lots of books.

Youth­town holds af­ter­school and school hol­i­day pro­grammes at cen­tres lo­cated in cen­tral Auck­land, Pan­mure, Paku­ranga and Taka­puna. – Carly Tawhiao is an AUT jour­nal­ism

stu­dent

Star struck: Six-year-old Dylan Drys­dale grabs the glue stick while his eight-year-old sis­ter Hana cuts out a shape. They’re mak­ing stars for a gi­ant mo­bile to be hung in the hospi­tal’s atrium.

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