Caring kids inspired to help others

By Liz Wylie

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National Park School students Cooper Bird (bottom left), Emerson Lark, Catherine Parry, Shykauda Church (top left), Emy Little, Blake Hooper and Hannah Swift.


 WGP 13Jun16 - KIDS
National Park School students Cooper Bird (bottom left), Emerson Lark, Catherine Parry, Shykauda Church (top left), Emy Little, Blake Hooper and Hannah Swift. WGP 13Jun16 - KIDS

Pupils at National Park School said they had heard about KidsCan, the charity that supports children in low-decile schools. "I have seen the ads on TV and it is sad that some families can't get raincoats for their kids," said 9-year-old Catherine Parry.
National Park is one of 14 New Zealand schools currently on the KidsCan waiting list.
A decile 5 school which caters for pupils from Year 1 to 8, National Park has a current roll of 55 students.
"Being mid-decile means we have a wide range of families at our school, some would really benefit from the wonderful support KidsCan offers," said principal Jane Welburn. "It's the little things that can make a big difference to the children's lives, and this in turn has a positive impact on learning at school." Children at the school are a caring and community-minded bunch, and a number of students in the senior class said they were from large families and knew that it could cost a lot to feed and clothe children.
Some said they liked to help out at home by making breakfast for their younger siblings. Cooper Bird, 7, said he enjoyed making breakfast for Mia, 3, and James, 5, and they like porridge or Weet-Bix with warm milk.
Hannah Swift, 7, said she also enjoyed preparing breakfast for her two younger brothers.
KidsCan supports children in 544 New Zealand schools with food, raincoats, shoes, socks and personal hygiene items.
The KidsCan Charitable Trust was co-founded in 2005 by Julie Chapman in her Auckland garage. After hearing news reports about New Zealand children going without the basics, she conducted an evaluation in 80 low-decile schools to see how widespread the problem was and how it was affecting children in the classroom.
Ms Chapman said there were a number of common myths about child poverty in New Zealand.

One was that giving handouts would not help children from struggling families.
"By providing practical support such as food, clothing and healthcare, we are giving children the opportunity to make the most of their education and break the generational cycle of hardship," she said.
"Education gives our future generations the chance at a better life and a chance to break the cycle of hardship for good."
Last year a survey of 245 of the schools participating in KidsCan showed in the past 10 years that food, raincoats, shoes and health programmes had a measurable and beneficial impact on the lives of many children in lower-decile schools.
Raetihi Primary School had been supported by KidsCan for a number of years and principal Nuku Wallace said it was a huge help to school families.

KidsCan is asking for more public support to help include schools on their waiting list, and have ways to donate listed on their website: kidscan.org.nz.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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