8 April 2020
CONNECTING WITH - FAMILIES IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
Papatoetoe is full of families. The census figures show that the age range in Papatoetoe is fairly evenly spread from babies to the very old giving an average age of 31 years for our area. This means we have much of the accumulated wisdom and experience about living and loving within our congregation to share with young families. .
One of the ways in which we are trying to provide a service to the families in our own neighbourhood is by offering parenting courses which can help them in bringing up their children. . We support Parent Trust in their programmes in our buildings and at present this parish is also working in partnership with Presbyterian Support Family Works team and Aorere College to run an Incredible Years course for parents . This course is available at St Johns at a much more modest rate than at other places, making it affordable for those who want to use it. Children brought up by parents who have an understanding of their needs have a much better chance of being able to grow and develop well. Often giving parents confidence to be parents and encouragement when things are difficult makes a huge difference to them and their children in the long term.
Another small way we are also seeking to provide help and encouragement and linking with people in our neighbourhood who want help is by being mentors to families in need under the umbrella of Fresh Perspective. Margie Vincent came to speak to the congregational meeting to give us a feel of what it is about. Their website reads as follows.
" Parents,You’re Not Alone! Fresh Perspective is a subsidiary service of the Open Home Foundation. It has been established to assist families with children under the age of 17 who are experiencing a variety of difficulties. It aims to assist families before issues facing them become serious or gives follow up support after some intensive work with other agencies.
Everybody needs a little help at some time in their lives. This is especially true for parents and caregivers raising young families. Whether it is learning about managing a child’s behaviour and providing boundaries, feeding the family well on a weekly budget, managing challenging family situations, connecting with others in the community or just needing someone to talk to" ……this is where we at St Johns come in.
People who contact Fresh Perspective from all over New Zealand are put in touch with the liaison person from the Christian church which is nearest. Fresh Perspective provides the backup monitoring or deals with cases which may turn out to be more that just befriending. FP also provides training for all the people who may be mentors and gives ongoing supervision and help to the Liaison person/s.. Fresh Perspective contacts the liaison person in the parish who matches the family or parent with a suitable mentor. In some cases it may be some help with budgeting that is needed, another time to listen to a mother with a new baby. This is a one to one service, done quietly and a mentor would only mentor one family at a time. This gives us a ability to connect with those who want help and to share the years of accumulated parenting experience of the congregation within the context of our Christian faith..
We will be asking if as many of you as possible, even if you never intend to do any mentoring yourself and no matter what age you are, to attend the first training course in February on Saturday 15th and Sunday afternoon 16th 2009 at St Johns. If you know that you can be a friend to one family or a parent if you are asked, it is essential you do the course. For the rest of you who attend, you will be rewarded by learning more about this project and gain understanding about what we are doing. You will be able to explain what we can offer to others.. So please give serious consideration to penciling these dates into your 2009 diary now.
We are inviting St Martins and St Andrews Otahuhu to join with us in this low key, but hopefully effective way of loving the families in our neighbourhood.
Remember that we never know what opportunities are waiting for us if we start to use the God given gifts we each have to share.
May God bless you and give you joy
Margaret Anne Low
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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