What a challenging few years all New Zealanders have faced. However, despite these challenges De Paul House has over the last year added another 21 transitional housing and 11 social housing properties to our service. This has meant increasing staffing. We are very proud of our current team who reflect the cultural diversity of the families we support and New Zealand’s multicultural society. It has been challenging to find qualified staff and we are proud of the skills and experience that all staff bring to create a very committed and hardworking team.
The values embedded in the mission of De Paul House are non-negotiable, ensuring all clients are treated with respect and dignity.
This month we farewelled Jo, our Early Childhood teacher, who has worked for over 9 years bringing love, laughter and learning to the youngest family members. Pre-schoolers have blossomed under Joanne’s teaching and in Joanne’s words “My greatest joy was watching the children gain confidence, be happily left by mum or dad and enjoy learning and exploring. So many arrive insecure and wary.”
At a special farewell celebration there were many tears. Families attended to personally thank Jo for her influence over their children’s lives. The women who attended are all migrants or refugees, who attended our Community Learning Centre while their children were happily playing at the Early Childhood Centre. They had limited English, low self-esteem and lacked confidence.
"This is how change happens. One gesture. One person. One moment in time."
May* attended our Learning centre for over three years, discovered her passion for baking after taking the Safe Food Handling certificate. She went on to take a catering course. Today she is a skilled baker, selling her delicious macarons and cakes via her Facebook page. We first met May* when she was in a substandard, illegal two-bedroom rental. They could only use one bedroom due to the damp and mould. To cook she had to use a small shed, cooking on a gas burner.
TK* is an inspiring young woman. She was homeless, struggling with a partner who battled a gambling addiction. She lived at De Paul House, enjoying every class provided in the Community Learning Centre. Now on her own, raising two beautiful school age children, she has passed her driver’s license, paid off a car and began her first job. She is a valued employee, enjoying a meaningful creative job.
Merida* first came to De Paul House preschool when a Plunket Nurse referred her as a lonely, struggling Mum coping with 12 month old twins. The twins very quickly settled into preschool and were always waiting at the window to see if the De Paul House van had arrived to collect them. The twins are now 9 years old and succeeding at school. Merida has begun work at a rest home and loves the work. She also has been using her cooking skills to provide catering and earn extra income to support her hard-working husband.
*All names have been changed for privacy.
These families’ successes are a tribute to their own hard work and their desire to achieve success as new New Zealanders. Their individual journeys have not been easy. Their tributes to both Joanne and the preschool provided by De Paul House were heartfelt and very moving. Not a dry eye in the room! For the staff witnessing these transformations and seeing the sincere and honest stories of how important De Paul House was in making this possible, was very humbling. You are part of this story.
We receive minimal Government funding for the Community Learning Centre and Early Childhood Centre. Yet we firmly believe in the unique opportunity these centres provide to make real change in the lives of the whole family.
PLEASE join with us by helping us to continue providing these services. De Paul House is the only housing provider offering such comprehensive learning support services. Your donation makes a difference. Thank you.