Pupils lend a help­ing hand to com­mu­nity

Central Leader - - News - By Carly Tawhiao

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.”

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

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.

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