Turning from crime to leadership
Breaking the cycle of under-achievement and failure
Tama had not been to school for two years. The second youngest of five children, homelife was tough with mum out of work, money tight and gang affiliations for the family. Tama had over 45 charges for breaking and entering and had been to court over three times in the last year.
Coming to Marist Alternative Education (Marist Alt Ed), gave Tama another chance to get back on track and break away from the cycle of under-achievement and failure.
Marist Alt Ed provides young people, just like Tama, an alternative learning environment. Smaller classes, one on one mentoring and tailor-made programmes are offered to bring the best out in students and equip them with the skills to further their education or to find employment. Each student is helped to develop their hidden potential.
For Tama, coming to Marist Alt Ed was just the right step for him. For a kid who hadn’t attended school for two years, gaining an attendance rate of 95% was a major achievement. His learning improved and he discovered that he enjoyed new things, like learning to play chess, writing stories and reading novels.
Asked to tell his story, Tama addressed his fellow students and staff about how embarrassed and sorry he was for all his past actions. His offending had affected many people. He asked for a chance to make things right.
The profound change in his behaviour was also noticed by the Police. His whanau and mother and brothers also noticed the change and are now wanting a chance to turn their lives around, too.
With this new-found direction, Tama has stepped up to be a leader. Staff say that now he is always looking to see who and how he can help others.
Finding strength through Te Waipuna Puawai Mercy Oasis
As we welcome the start of a new year, can I offer you my heartfelt gratitude for your support of my Foundation.
For many families, beset by tragedy, poverty, addictions or financial insecurity, the new year can often be a time of despair and great worry. The Caring Foundation works with many organisations who day-in and day-out help to alleviate some of these struggles and complex issues, with which many of our families battle.
As I reflect on the work that is ahead of us, and the call from Pope Francis to ‘open our hearts to the poor’, it is timely to also reflect and give thanks to those loyal supporters who have gone before us, but whose legacy means that their values of caring for the poor and marginalised will still live on. They have given a gift of hope, faith and charity so that families and communities today who suffer from poverty and hardship will receive help, care and the skills to transform their lives tomorrow.
It is because of their bequests and the support from you, my dear brothers and sisters, that the Foundation can show forth our faith in action within our community.
In this new year and new decade, I do ask for your prayers for my Foundation, and the community groups whom we fund, who treat the most vulnerable and distressed with such care and dignity.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
With every blessing,