Call goes out for Kid­sline bud­dies

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By DANIELLE STREET

Be­com­ing a teenage coun­sel­lor changed Henry Wadsworth’s life.

The 18-year-old be­came a phone buddy for Kid­sline about 18 months ago and says it is hugely re­ward­ing.

‘‘To be hon­est, it wasn’t re­ally a thing old me would have done, but I saw this lit­tle no­tice at school and I thought I’d give it a go,’’ he says.

Kid­sline is the coun­try’s only call cen­tre that has kids help­ing kids – ev­ery coun­sel­lor is a sec­ondary school stu­dent.

The vol­un­teer coun­sel­lors an­swer calls from young peo­ple up to the age of 14, who face a myr­iad prob­lems in­clud­ing bul­ly­ing, fam­ily vi­o­lence or re­la­tion­ship is­sues.

‘‘I feel that I am very priv­i­leged in my life and this is a way that I can help kids less for­tu­nate than me, in an anony­mous way,’’ Henry says.

‘‘Do­ing this has changed my life, it’s made me a bet­ter per­son on the in­side and I’m hap­pier in life.’’

The ser­vice is look­ing for more bud­dies to start on the phone lines next year.

Year 11 stu­dents are re­cruited to vol­un­teer on the phone lines for two years.

Be­fore an­swer­ing calls they go through in­ten­sive train­ing over sum­mer and then re­ceive on­go­ing train­ing dur­ing their time at Kid­sline.

Re­source team mem­ber Penny Maxwell says hav­ing teen coun­sel­lors helps re­duce bar­ri­ers that might stop a young per­son call­ing.

‘‘One of the other rea­sons is that be­cause they have been re­cently there it can make it a bit eas­ier to hear what the child’s say­ing and not just give a parental re­sponse,’’ Miss Maxwell says.

‘‘And also, some­times for the call­ers, maybe they have tried talk­ing to adults, maybe it’s kind of scary or maybe it’s an adult that’s mak­ing them feel this way.’’

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Giv­ing back: Henry Wadsworth says be­ing a Kid­sline buddy has made him hap­pier in life.

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