Next Rotary Generation is carrying the Rotary baton on to young people here on the Shore and beyond. Here, North Shore NRG member Chantall Turner shares her experience of spreading festive joy at Wairau Valley Special School...
I stepped into the room and was greeted by these smiling interested faces all sitting in a semi-circle in a large open space. Welcome to the WVSS Transition Centre! I felt instantly welcomed and included as Sarah, one of their teachers, introduced herself.
My task as a representative of NRG North Shore (Milford Rotary’s “baby”) was to drop off our fundraising drive for what looks to be our annual Christmas gift-giving pleasure. For the second year in a row, we have asked for donations and collected used handbags and items of toiletries/ handbag sundries to be sorted, cleaned, wrapped complete with a card to be delivered to Woman’s Refuge, Shine and De Paul house.
At NRG we decided last year that gift giving is not just for the kiddies, what about the awesome mum’s and those fantastic unheard of people who would love to have a nice gift on Christmas day? Our drive has morphed with generous and I mean truly generous donations from people all around our circle of influence. Boxes and boxes of stuff have been delivered to the Transition Centre. One of the students showed me the corners of the room where the piles have collected all ready to be sorted. He’s an awesome young man with this sweet shy smile and so excited to tell me what his dream and goals are next year. He’s been working towards leaving the WVSS Transition Centre and will be working one day a week with horses with his other days filled with activities as well as the usual expected stuff of keeping his flat tidy, doing housework, grocery shopping and so forth.
On my next visit to the Transition Centre another young man proudly shows me 60 bags all lined up in a circle on the tables all set up with the items to go inside them all ready. The WVSS Transition Centre students have had great delight in organising themselves and helping with the decisions of what item would go with which handbag.
As a whole group the students have all decided that the contents of the bags should be divided as evenly as possible to be fair to everyone.
They were so delighted with the task at hand and the progress they made in such a small amount of time. The students asked me to ensure that they will be able to do the bags again next year and even suggested as a team that they will also want to contribute to the drive and how they can facilitate this. The young adults at WVSS Transition Centre are so keen to learn and experience all the usual things of everyday life we take for granted. The joy of wrapping gifts, the selecting. Learning life skills and the opportunity to help in our community is just a small part of all the fantastic things they are eager to learn and look forward to doing. On behalf of NRG I’d like to say that we are so fortunate to have the students helping us with this year’s activities and we definitely value all their help.
Thank you to our local communities to make this year’s Christmas handbags a success and at NRG we are already planning on how to expand on this next year.