The Central Region Programmes team has been helping new parents give their babies a good start to life.
So far, nine programme participants have been gifted BabyStart boxes chock-full of high-quality, essential clothing and care items for a newborn baby.
Twenty boxes have been purchased from BabyStart, a New Zealand charity providing comprehensive care packages to babies in challenging circumstances. Anyone can buy a box, and with each one sold the charity gifts an identical box to another New Zealand baby in need.
“Programmes staff have been identifying participants who are expecting babies and could use a little extra help,” says Manager Interventions, Programmes and Employment Kim Smith.
“We gifted a box to a young man on our Te Whare Hāpai Tangata programme whose partner was due to give birth, and another was a young man who had just lost his job and had a baby on the way.”
“The facilitators have also given these to pregnant women who are at risk of not having the essentials.”
Kim says it’s also had a positive impact on the relationships between facilitators and participants.
“It really helps break down some barriers between us and the people we are working with. They can see we genuinely care and want to help them.”
“It’s a nice way for facilitators to show their support. Not only does it help engage our participants, it brings a lot of joy and satisfaction to the giver. The fact we are actually helping babies is just the icing on the cake.”
Hamilton Programme Facilitators Kim Foley and Bevan Bailey recently gifted a box to one of their participants. Bevan says the manaakitanga shown by offering this whānau a baby box has gone a long way.
“Daniel* hasn’t had an easy time since being released from prison, so when we handed him the box his face lit up,” says Bevan. “He isn’t usually a man who is lost for words, but on that day he was.”
“Daniel’s partner and newborn baby attended the programme graduation – both mum and baby are doing really well. Daniel’s partner shared some lovely words and thanked us for our support.”
“Providing these boxes is a simple, practical way to humanise our interactions with participants. From my experience, Daniel and his whānau then connected with us on a deeper level.”
To find out more about BabyStart, check out their website.
*Not his real name