Hard work, ded­i­ca­tion marked


She’s spent 35 years build­ing with blocks, read­ing books and mak­ing cakes with Play­doh - and 25 of those have been spent at Rivers­dale Play­cen­tre in north­ern South­land.

Naomi Slack be­gan her as­so­ci­a­tion with Play­cen­tre when her own chil­dren were young at the neigh­bour­ing town of Bal­four, where she be­gan train­ing as a su­per­vi­sor.

‘‘My son is go­ing to be 40 soon so that should give you some idea of how long it’s been.

‘‘It prob­a­bly just all grew from there, see­ing them through and off to school and then I car­ried on.’’

Her first role as a su­per­vi­sor was at Lums­den, and at the same time she was a li­ai­son of­fi­cer for the play­cen­tre at Rivers­dale.

In 1992 she be­gan as the su­per­vi­sor, now known as an ed­u­ca­tor, at Rivers­dale.

She loved the job so much she’s never left, and she’s now teach­ing the chil­dren of chil­dren she first taught all those years ago.

‘‘There’s been quite a few sec­ond gen­er­a­tion chil­dren come through over the years, it’s quite funny be­cause I don’t feel like I’ve been here that long.

‘‘Some­times I think ‘I taught him or her’ and it makes you a lit­tle bit proud.’’

‘‘The best thing about it is the friend­ships you make, and watch­ing the chil­dren you teach grow up and see­ing what they achieve and what they’ve done.’’

There were plenty of other ben­e­fits. As well as the job be­ing fun, she could also help in the com­mu­nity.

‘‘Be­ing able to help peo­ple, not just chil­dren but the par­ents and fam­i­lies as well, is so re­ward­ing.’’

Slack was also re­warded this week with a life mem­ber­ship to the Rivers­dale Play­cen­tre.

‘‘It’s very un­ex­pected and a bit over­whelm­ing.

‘‘The ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had and lots of the things I’ve done in life I’ve done have been be­cause of Play­cen­tre but it’s the peo­ple above all.’’

Rivers­dale Play­cen­tre pres­i­dent Michelle Houghton said Slack’s hard work and ded­i­ca­tion made her wor­thy of a life mem­ber­ship to the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Slack’s achieve­ment was cel­e­brated with a morn­ing tea for the chil­dren and fam­ily mem­bers, and she was pre­sented with a book of photos, which along with the cake was an in­stant hit with the chil­dren.

‘‘She cre­ates a great learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for the chil­dren they all love her.’’

Naomi Slack is about to get some help blow­ing out the can­dles on her cake, cel­e­brat­ing 25 years at Rivers­dale Play­cen­tre.

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