Corrections Literacy & Numeracy:
The remand workshop has started again, and the team that is enrolled this time are showing a lot of enthusiasm and enjoying it. The wing staff seem happy to have us on site to add to the experience of those on remand, and I am approached every week by prospective new students who want to be part of the series after talking to those who have been through it.
The Mission was approached by the Police to trial our Learner Drivers License Programme with a group of female offenders. This was held over 2 days (a weekend) at the Mission. Andrew facilitated the programme which was also well supported by 2 police officers attending the programme to support the participants.
The feedback from Emily Plew, the lead police officer who initiated the programme, was: “Thank you so much for your awesome tutoring over the weekend. It was such a great weekend and the girls really did so well. The feedback from the girls was that they were all really happy with the weekend and especially loved the games that were played and asked for more of them.
The girls (apart from one) sat their theory test today and everyone passed except two. Both of them had two goes at the test but failed both times. I think that shows a mixture of nerves, not reading the questions correctly and perhaps needing to spend a bit more time testing themselves. But they were in good spirits and we will get them through hopefully within the next week. Christine, thank you for everything you have done to make this weekend such a success. The feedback from the girls was really positive and I am positive that this is just the start of these courses.”
The police are keen to replicate the programme again with another group of offenders. Based on the feedback from Emily, we will slightly adjust the programme to include a section on managing test anxiety.
Again, outstanding work from Andrew, facilitating the programme.
Client Support Worker:
An elderly man in his 90’s (Frank) was referred to the service by his lawyer. The reason for referral was to help Frank apply for the Resthome Care Subsidy through Work and Income, and to support Frank to get his home ready for the Real Estate agent to sell. Frank has no family and his lawyer is based in the North Island.
Frank’s move to the Resthome was as a result of him having a fall at home and being hospitalised. On meeting Frank he was aware of what was needed to be done and was happy to have someone to go over things with him. The Work and Income forms were quite lengthy and required time as Frank had to recall a lifetime of travel, employment and residencies. This allowed Frank to reflect on his life and as a worker I felt privilaged to have heard his journey. I acknowledged this with Frank as the next part of supporting Frank was to help him clear out his home ready for sale.
The Resthome Manager and the team had begun the process with Frank in getting his home sorted in preparation for the Real Estate agent. This was an ask from Frank’s lawyer. However Frank felt he was a bit behind the ‘eight ball’ with the decisions being made and he wasn’t sure what he had agreed to in relation to his belongings. Frank stated this was due to him not feeling 100% after coming out of the hospital. Once we had completed Frank’s Work and Income forms he asked if I could help him get some clarity around this.
After speaking with Frank it was clear he had a preference of who he wanted to come into his home to appraise his belongings, and that once this had been done he was happy for the Salvation Army to come and grab the remaining items. I asked the Resthome Manager to join us so Frank could hear where they were up to with the removal of his things. Frank was able to say what he wanted to happen and this was put in place. Together with the Manager and Frank we were able to help Frank move through this transition in his life respectfully and with transparency.
Central Otago Parenting Through Separation:
This August we have delivered courses in the Central Otago Area; one each in Alexandra and Queenstown and have held two in Dunedin, all with good attendance rates. We have had requests from Queenstown Family Court Lawyers to receive ongoing emails of upcoming events to refer to their clients. Follow up feedback produced some interesting quotes this month:
* “It showed me where I want to be; and what I don’t want to become”
* “The course is for information not counselling”
* “Having been separated for some time I was surprised at how much I got from the course – it was more than just a “tick that box exercise”.
Ōtepoti Youth Transition Home:
Everyone has been busy with school and course work to complete. Some of the residents recently attended their school formal and reporting back that everyone had a wonderful time.
The House was contacted by 2 of Dunedin Rotary Clubs, The St Kilda and Dunedin East clubs with offers of support. Both clubs kindly invited the coordinator to come and speak about the YTH project and were keen to learn about the Youth Transition House and thought it a great initiative.
The St Kilda club has offered the House a large picnic table and are keen to help people move their belongings and any large household items into new accommodation, offering the use of a van. Dunedin East Club have kindly offered to donate to the House a new lawn mower with safety equipment and petrol can along with a couple of raised garden beds for growing vegies.
We have also had a visit from Sela Takataka a student Careers advisor who came along to the House to meet and connect with the residents to let them know what she does and how she may be able to help them with some career advice. The residents reported they found the information very interesting and have asked that Sela come back for some individual help with career choices.
A highlight has been the placement of two of our residents - one into a private rental and the other with her Nana. There has been an offer of some rooms for rent and Sean will be looking into those.
There are also 2 very motivated young ladies looking at everything they can find.
Dunedin Little Citizens:
One of our priority learners is heading off to school at the end of August and this young boy has presented us all with challenges and made us think how we could make his time at centre a positive one. On his finishing care form his mum wrote “He has enjoyed his time at day-care and I have liked the teacher’s way of handling and caring for his behavioural issues”.
The teachers at Little Citizens have been on an amazing journey throughout the year as they have worked with an equally amazing little boy and his family to build on his knowledge and skills and positive attitude towards himself and others.
Although the journey has been a roller coaster the one thing that remained the same was the desire and passion to do the best that we could do to provide a positive learning environment for him and his family where he was exposed to support not judgement even when things were a little tough. This required constant reflection and conversations to ensure that teachers were consistent in their approaches and engagement to bring about a change in behaviour and attitude.
We have seen wonderful progress over his time where he has gone from a child who spent most of his time searching for bugs not really that interested in being part of the group to a child who is now actively asking other children to play with him.
Although his impulsivity can still see him be a little unpredictable, through supporting this child one on one, and within the daily programme, he is now fully participating within the programme. His ability to regulate his emotions and responses is improving daily where he is showing that he can stop and think to make more positive choices and decisions. There has been a major reduction in the instances of biting, spitting and swearing which shows his increasing self-regulation skills where his initial response is no longer to go into flight mode and react instead he can stop and make more thought out decisions.
So we look ahead to his move to school at the end of August with a smile in the knowledge of the amazing progress he has made while with us this year and wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
Throughout this journey we have received wonderful feedback from the Ministry of Education in regards to the effort, energy and skills of our teaching team that they put into their work supporting children with diverse needs. Where they go over and above to achieve the best for the child and their family.