Starfish sup­ports com­mu­nity youth

Waikato News - - NEWS - Kim Cable

Late in 2017, Starfish So­cial Ser­vices re­lo­cated to their new premises at 15 Gor­don Ter­race, Mata­mata.

Starfish So­cial Ser­vices is a not for profit com­mu­ni­ty­based or­gan­i­sa­tion that sup­ports youth and fam­ily by jour­ney­ing along­side them in a holis­tic way — meet­ing emo­tional, spir­i­tual and phys­i­cal needs. Starfish works us­ing strengths-based ap­proaches to em­power in­di­vid­u­als and wha¯ nau to achieve what is im­por­tant to them.

Daniel Lans­daal is part of Starfish’s Youth De­vel­op­ment and Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme, and in 2016, he was head boy at Mata­mata Col­lege. Daniel joined Starfish to work as part of a team of young lead­ers in cre­at­ing an event for youth, run by youth. This event be­came known as the Do­main­i­na­tor and the event was a day filled with sports, an ob­sta­cle course, and an out­door movie. Daniel found the ex­pe­ri­ence helped shape him into a bet­ter leader.

“It was an in­cred­i­ble thing at the ripe old age of 17 to be put in with a team of young peo­ple and cre­ate some­thing which could be en­joyed by ev­ery­one in the town. Even through this one event, Starfish was in­ad­ver­tently mak­ing me de­velop into a bet­ter leader,” says Daniel.

“One of the things which stood out for me in the Do­main­i­na­tor cre­ation process was that it was en­tirely youth run­ning the show. The so-called ‘big kids’ com­pletely stood back and let us do the work. We were on our own, but had that sup­port net­work to guide us should we need it.”

Daniel found that his in­volve­ment with the event re­ally chal­lenged his ideas on what or­gan­i­sa­tions like Starfish are re­ally here for.

“To most peo­ple, I would seem like the last per­son who would need to utilise Starfish So­cial Ser­vices. I was Head Boy, a hard­work­ing aca­demic, I had a job, and was part of many recre­ational groups through­out the com­mu­nity. The gen­eral per­cep­tion is that only those who are at risk need them. But Starfish is aim­ing to help all youth. I am pure ev­i­dence that Starfish is do­ing all it can to help de­velop all kinds of youth in the com­mu­nity.”

Deb­o­rah Gal­loway, Well­ness Fa­cil­i­ta­tor at Starfish, says that since Starfish’s in­cep­tion eight years ago, Mata­mata has seen growth in its com­mu­nity and this is mir­rored by an in­creased need for prac­ti­cal and emo­tional sup­port for youth and whanau.

“Our his­toric build­ing has a her­itage of pro­vid­ing ex­cep­tional care for the com­mu­nity, we will con­tinue this le­gacy. Our new whare Starfish Com­mu­nity Hub is a one stop shop pro­vid­ing care, sup­port and in­creased ac­cess to ser­vices for the lo­cal com­mu­nity.”

Starfish is in­ter­ested in hear­ing from health and so­cial ser­vice providers who de­liver out­reach sup­port ser­vices in Mata­mata.

“We in­vite the com­mu­nity, agen­cies and vis­i­tors to call in for a visit to our new whare,” says Deb­o­rah.

Starfish aims to strengthen re­la­tion­ships within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties, im­prove out­comes for youth and whanau and build com­mu­nity ca­pac­ity in Mata­mata-Pi­ako and South Waikato. The new build­ing pro­vides places to learn, teach, coun­sel, hold meet­ings, stage events and more. Find out more at starfish­ser­vices.org.nz.

Photo / Sup­plied

Daniel Lans­daal is part of Starfish’s Youth De­vel­op­ment and Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme.

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