29 November 2021 at 8:21 pm

Lisa's Journey

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At Cholmondeley Children’s Centre, we pride ourselves on providing a safe haven for tamariki and whānau coming to us from a diverse range of backgrounds. Over the years, we have developed and adapted the service we deliver to ensure that it meets the ever-evolving needs of our community, needs that in recent years have been exasperated due to events like the Canterbury earthquakes and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Drug abuse and addiction have also had a devastating effect, with the impact being felt at all levels of the community and our country.

One of the whānau receiving support from Cholmondeley is all too aware of the damage substance abuse can have.

Jackie has been Lisa’s whaea whāngai (foster mother) from the day she was born as her birth mother (Jackie’s niece) has been battling addiction for several years. Jackie had experienced the highs and lows of solo parenting first hand, however over time, the lows began to feel overwhelming. Combined with battling her own physical and mental health issues, Jackie felt the need to make a brave step and reach out for help. After an initial appointment with her GP, a referral was made to Cholmondeley.

After Lisa’s first ‘day visit’ to Cholmondeley, Jackie knew it was the perfect fit. Jackie describes Lisa as “such a busy girl, full of energy and enthusiasm for learning” and endearingly calls her “little miss know it all”. She knew that the environment Cholmondeley fosters was going to help her flourish and grow. Lisa began her Cholmondeley journey with one night stays and within a couple of months, stepped up to three nights.

Lisa began staying at Cholmondeley in March this year and since her first visit, staff have noticed the growth she has demonstrated each stay. They describe it as “simply remarkable”. A member of the Care Team stated “each visit we see Lisa’s confidence, social skills and independence shine brighter and brighter. She has really come out of her shell since her first stay and is making strong connections more frequently and really willing to give everything a go!”

Jackie had experienced the highs and lows of solo parenting first hand, however over time, the lows began to feel overwhelming.

In Lisa’s words when asked about Cholmondeley, she said “I love going to Cholmondeley because I can play, I have friends, and the food tastes good!”

Jackie believes that she has certainly seen a difference in their lives since becoming a part of the Cholmondeley whānau; “It has been better for my wellbeing having that time apart, and it is so lovely to hear about Lisa’s new friends and experiences. Working to a tight budget, outings are few and far between for us. Recently Lisa came home beaming about having been to the museum, swimming ... and got an ice cream!”

In the last year, Cholmondeley Children’s Centre supported over 300 tamariki who needed short-term and emergency respite care, when their whānau were experiencing genuine stress and crisis. This accumulated to over 4,000 bed nights and more than 25,000 hours of quality care. Cholmondeley is approximately 70% community funded and as such, with your support, we can continue to provide children like Lisa with a place to flourish and grow.

It is a shared belief within our organisation that the needs of children may differ, but one certain thing is that every child deserves an opportunity to reach their full potential.

From our tamariki and whānau, staff and board, thank you for your support in helping us make an enduring difference in our community.

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