We know we achieve more when we work together and use collective resources to advance our shared goals. This is why we value our Corrections volunteers who give up their time every day to work directly with people in prison.
Volunteering within Corrections supports our goal of reducing re-offending by assisting people to meet their rehabilitative needs and transition back into society. In 2019/20, approximately 1,500 volunteers dedicated their time to changing the lives of people alongside our staff.
During that same period volunteers undertook approximately 16,000 visits to our prisons, doing things such as teaching people in prison how to read and write, teaching second languages, running parenting courses, and holding arts and crafts workshops.
We also have volunteers at our community sites, helping people to complete community-based sentences as well as supporting people after completion of their sentence in prison. Our volunteers are critical to our work and clearly demonstrate our value of manaaki. We are incredibly grateful for their contributions to our outcomes of improving public safety and reducing re-offending.
The theme of this year’s volunteer recognition week is ‘connecting our hearts’ and sharing stories of touching moments from volunteering. Sites are recognising their volunteers in a variety of morning teas and events this week and sharing their stories.
Moana Wahanui is OCF’s Volunteer Co-ordinator. Antje and Rhonda both volunteer weekly in the library at the prison. Antje has been volunteering in the library since the prison was opened in 2007.
They are both key to the prison’s library service and prison education programmes.
“Rhonda and Antje always go above and beyond,” says Moana. “They are always giving and happy to go the extra mile whenever they are needed. In addition to running the library service, they both support other areas in the prison.
Their volunteer work ranges from sourcing education books for the men, to organising presents for the tamariki for whānau day or helping make kapa haka costumes.”
“OCF is very lucky to have these two ladies come to our site and help the men. They are both treasures!”
In recognition of their ongoing service, Antje and Rhonda were gifted a number of items made for them by men working in the prison’s carpentry workshop.
In Christchurch, Corrections is hosting a thank you morning tea at Te Omeka for over 40 volunteers from Christchurch Women’s Prison and Rolleston Prison. These volunteers offer up their time and skills to work with men and women in prison in activities as diverse as literacy and numeracy training, knitting, giving up smoking and letter writing.
Volunteers will be encouraged to share their success stories over tea and cake. The volunteers will be welcomed by Deputy Regional Commissioner Justin Rowlands, with talks from Practice Manager Education and Training Dr Helen Farley (about neurodiversities), PCO Joanne Whittle (keeping safe) and Regional Volunteer Co-ordinator Helen Egan (Corrections values).
‘We are fortunate to have a great group of amazingly committed volunteers across Canterbury and the Southern Region. These people demonstrate our Ara Poutama Aotearoa values every day. They provide support, skills and care, and this can be life-changing for people. This morning tea gives us the opportunity to say 'thank you for the work you do’ and for continuing to be a smiling face in what can be a difficult and challenging environment,” says Justin.
If you know someone special who you think would make a great Corrections Volunteer, encourage them to apply at our external careers website.
For more information about volunteering at Corrections see our website.