Guest Post – KidsCan takes a targeted approach

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The team at KidsCan is very pleased to be the charity of choice for the Super 8 Boxing event on the 28th of March. We have been following Cameron?s progress with interest and we are impressed with his commitment to training and to supporting KidsCan.

There has been a lot of talk in recent days about the issue of hardship and in particular food related hardship with the recent feed the kid?s bill being voted down in Parliament. I thought it was timely to talk about the work of KidsCan and the approach we take in assisting children.

KidsCan has been working in this space for ten years supported by businesses, trusts, individuals and the Ministry of Social Development. This collaborative approach is in our view the most sustainable way of meeting the needs of the children we are supporting. This is a whole of New Zealand issue that everyone needs to play a part in addressing. What ever side of the fence you sit on, I think we can all agree that ‘education equals opportunity’ and this is THE sole reason KidsCan was founded. Simply put, and without apportioning any blame, children struggle to learn if they are cold, hungry and sick.

The approach we advocate is a targeted, no blame one that ensures the most vulnerable children in the 448 schools we support benefit from our food, clothing and health programmes. A lot of people think that this approach can create stigma for children who are less fortunate than others. I have not seen or heard any examples of this in the ten years we have been operating and I think this is an adult?s perception of how we think a child might feel. Ourprogrammes are delivered with love and in a way that best fits the culture of each school. Feedback and letters from hundreds of teachers show that the kids we support feel valued and that their community cares about them enough to make sure they have the basics most of us take for granted. ?

From time to time I come across people who say that KidsCan is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, not the fence at the top. When I hear this, I tell them we are actually both. Many of the kiwi kids we support would not be in school today if it weren?t for the food, clothing and health support that we provide on a daily basis. This of course alleviates the ?immediate? effects of poverty, but the bigger picture is that in doing so the children we support are better able to take advantage of the learning opportunities available to them at school and it?s paying off.

kidscanWe start our work with children at a primary school level and we support them for as long as they need it, right through high school in some cases as you will see below. That?s a long time for an organisation to be involved, but that is our commitment to New Zealand?s less fortunate children and to their future.

This year we celebrate ten years of providing a hand up for Kiwi kids and we now regularly hear from students who credit our practical support with helping them to succeed and lift themselves out of the cycle of hardship.

The excerpts below are from a letter we recently received from Salvatore Gargiulo, Principal of Manurewa High School and they really highlight how KidsCan is making a tangible difference in his school after only one year.

?We have found attendance has increased, it is now over 85% which is better than the national average?

?Our examination pass rate has improved and we are now performing above the national average in all areas?

?The incidents of fighting and bullying are now minimal?

It is always amazing and humbling to receive this kind of feedback from the schools we support and we will keep on supporting the education and wellbeing of children across New Zealand for as long as we are needed.

If you would like to learn more about our work or to support a child for $15 a month visit www.kidscan.org.nz 100% of your monthly donation goes to the kids. [link fixed]

We are looking forward to the 28th of March and may the best man win!!

Julie Chapman ? CEO & Founder KidsCan Charitable Trust

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