Stylish fundraiser

The Tribune (NZ) - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD MAYS

Chil­dren who slip through the cracks at school are to ben­e­fit from a glam cat­walk event on Thurs­day night.

Min­istry for Vul­ner­a­ble Chil­dren Oranga Tamariki care­giver Mercedes Hay­man, and hus­band David, have started Men­torEd, a char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing sup­port for Palmer­ston North’s dis­ad­van­taged chil­dren.

Men­torEd is the ben­e­fi­ciary of Fash­ion Fu­sion, a sell-out show­case of lo­cally de­signed cou­ture - gar­ments, head gear and hairstyles - that is do­nat­ing its pro­ceeds to the start-up char­ity.

‘‘I’ll be talk­ing about what we are do­ing, and how peo­ple could help with their time or funds to make a big dif­fer­ence in lo­cal chil­dren’s lives.’’

She said the idea came af­ter see­ing chil­dren aged be­tween 6 and 16 not at­tend­ing school, of­ten for weeks at a time, due to the chal­lenges they faced.

‘‘It broke our hearts to see th­ese bright kids not at school be­cause of some cir­cum­stance caus­ing emo­tional prob­lems that led to be­hav­ioral is­sues.’’

Among the distress-caus­ing is­sues chil­dren faced were mar­riage break-up, be­reave­ment, itin­er­ancy, home­less­ness, ad­dic­tions, abuse, vi­o­lence, ill­ness and fi­nan­cial hard­ship.

‘‘We thought how we could in­ter­vene ef­fec­tively to stop th­ese kids from drop­ping out.’’

Hay­man saw an op­por­tu­nity to tie in with Palmer­ston North’s ‘‘pos­i­tive vol­un­teer vibe’’.

With for­mer spe­cial needs teacher Jonathan Spencer, the Hay­mans set up Men­torEd to work in schools with teach­ers to in­crease the chances of ad­versely af­fected chil­dren mak­ing a go of learn­ing.

Men­torEd of­fi­cially launches in Novem­ber for the 2018 school year, but has been run­ning a pi­lot pro­gramme at Mil­son School.

‘‘We’ve had pos­i­tive feed­back from the teach­ers and the par­ents,’’ Hay­man said.

As well as vol­un­teers help­ing with life skills, read­ing, ba­sic maths, mu­sic and sport, the char­ity pro­vides funds for sta­tionery sup­plies, sports gear, school camp fees and equip­ment, and food.

‘‘There are no run­ning costs or of­fices - the money goes straight into re­sources for the kids,’’ Hay­man said.

Fash­ion Fu­sion co-or­di­na­tor Gabrielle Bundy-Cooke of Spec­tra said the evening at The Lo­cal with milliner Ane´l Hey­man and fash­ion de­signer Pene´ hoped to do­nate $2000 to the char­ity, on­line at men­tored.org.nz.

PHOTO: DAVID UNWIN/STUFF

Fash­ion Fu­sion or­gan­is­ers Gabrielle BundyCooke, Anel Hey­man and Pene Peneha.

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