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