Teen confidants inspire stalwart
KAREN Leuschke has been working with youngsters through Kidsline since it was first launched 26 years ago.
Kidsline is a free and confidential phone service that enlists older children to counsel younger ones.
Mrs Leuschke is a mentor for the organisation and helps with training.
‘‘It’s revolutionary,’’ she says. ‘‘There’s no other place in the world that has older children counselling younger children.’’
Year 12 and 13 counsellors offer the right amount of empathy but have enough distance to be the best ear for Kidsline’s target age of 6 to 13-year-olds, she says.
‘‘Whenever I hear news about teens doing destructive things I think of the hundreds of Kidsline buddies I have mentored and am given every hope for the future.
‘‘There are amazing young people out there. There were 26 years ago and there still are in 2014.’’
Mrs Leuschke has spent much of her 69 years dedicated to the well-being of children.
She has been involved with Lifeline, from which Kidsline emerged, for more than 43 years
She’s also been a teacher for 45 years and has four children and eight grandchildren of her own.
Mrs Leuschke says young people face many issues that Kidsline can help them to overcome.
‘‘It connects me with young people who are wise and it’s nice to know I am having a positive effect on someone’s life.’’
She never thought the service would play such a mammoth part in her life but is thrilled to still be involved.
‘‘It’s just as strong as it ever was. We need it, our kids need it, our young people need it. It’s one of those services that can make a difference, does make a difference and I intend to stay part of it.’’
Kidsline will receive $26,000 from registration fees paid by people entering this year’s Ports of Auckland Round the Bays, which starts on March 9 at 9.30am. The money will go towards the training of more volunteer buddies.
Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is a joint collaboration between the Auckland Joggers Club and Fairfax Media, owner of the Auckland City Harbour News and its parent company, Suburban Newspapers.
Registration proceeds will also help support , Radio Lollipop, Cys- tic Fibrosis Auckland Branch, The Hearing House, Crohns and Colitis New Zealand, Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, Kidsline and Fairfax First Books.
Community minded: Kidsline stalwart Karen Leuschke says the service is the only one of its kind.