Pupils lend a helping hand to community
Royal Oak Intermediate pupils are taking community matters into their own hands and volunteering in their neighbourhood.
Teacher Petunia Makaua says the Project Helping Hands pilot aims to connect the school with community.
It is being piloted this year.
“At the beginning of term one we decided to trial this and approached CCS Disability Action to offer our help.”
CCS Disability Action provides services and support to more than 6000 disabled people and their families nationally.
The Royal Oak branch is minutes away from the school and is keen to get people involved in its community gardens.
Regional manager Barbel Winter says the help and the opportunity to link with young locals is more than welcome.
“It’s great. For many young people, diversity is just part of their daily lives and for a long time our gardens were only for people with disabilities. Now we want to involve the whole community.”
The patch was a market flower garden nearly 90 years ago and has been the centre’s garden for more than 25 years.
Substantial redevelopment of the centre in recent years has seen the organic garden open up to the community in a bid to recruit volunteer involvement.
“We welcome any schools or organisations who are interested in our community garden to contact us and arrange a visit,” Ms Winter says.
“Young people are the future of any community and we welcome this opportunity to meet and share our space and what we do and also learn about what young people think.”
Intermediate pupils Maloti Morar and Mikayla Busby-Ward say the Friday afternoon gardening sessions are teaching them a lot more about gardening.
“It’s really fun, we get to learn about plants, well weeds mainly. Gardeners really don’t like weeds,” says Maloti.
“We also helped make compost and last week we potted tiny pohutukawa plants,” says Mikayla. “We’re helping out and learning how to make a garden grow.”
Helping hands: Royal Oak Intermediate pupils from left: Mikayla Busby-Ward, 11, Maloti Morar, 12, and Hannah Carter, 12, in the community gardens at CCS Disability Action.