Unsung hero’s work rewarded
School breakfast organiser’s dedication gets recognition
Feeding children breakfast and offering a listening ear has earned a Cannons Creek volunteer an unsung hero award.
Every week morning Celia Roche gets to Holy Family School at 7.30am. She sets out food, organises the other volunteers and chats to the children. About 40 turn up every day.
On Thursday last week, Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley awarded her the only nationwide Unsung Hero award as part of the Kickstart Breakfast Awards.
‘‘I was totally surprised. There were no hints,’’ Roche said. ‘‘I just love starting the day doing this.’’
Roche, a reading recovery teacher, said after the breakfasts started six years ago, they noticed a difference in the children’s learning and attention. ‘‘It was just so noticeable. ‘‘I liked the idea of children starting the day happy and wanting to learn.’’
Tolley said the Unsung Hero award was presented yearly to a person who works tirelessly behind the scenes, and sought little or no recognition.
‘‘Celia has volunteered five days a week for the past six years and is the epitome of what this award stands for,’’ Tolley said.
Cousins Jotham, 9, and Madison, 9, Setefano were part of the Holy Family breakfast club and said Roche deserved the award.
‘‘ She’s nice and kind to us,’’ Madison said.
‘‘She makes sure we have break- fast. She always makes sure we have the right amount of sugar too.’’
KickStart Breakfast is a partnership between Fonterra, Sanitarium and the Government to provide a free school breakfast of Anchor milk and WeetBix to all New Zealand schools, five days a week. More than 95,000 breakfasts are served each week in over 730 schools.
‘‘This partnership would not be such a success without the great volunteers across the country who give up their time to help our children succeed and my thanks go out to them all,’’ Tolley said.
Say cheese: Anne Tolley and children from Holy Family School in Cannons Creek.
Big hello: Minister of Social Development Anne Tolley was welcomed by children at Holy Family School.
Children’s hero: Anne Tolley congratulates Celia Roche.