This term the two groups from Queen’s High School and King’s High School have had lots of fun, educational experiences participating in the Science Works programme. Highlights include visits to:
- Speight’s, where we had an entertaining tour from our ebullient guide, culminating in free drinks for all (non-alcoholic!)
- Action Engineering, where the boys got to sit inside an armoured vehicle and manoeuvre and aim a howitzer gun (unloaded!)
- AD Instruments, where students were able to test their grip strength, manipulate their heart rate, and take turns being shocked (literally – with electricity!)
Comments from students include:
- “It’s that time of the week again!” (said enthusiastically on arrival)
- “This was fun!”
- “I enjoyed that. I’m into being creative in science.”
Prison Literacy and Numeracy
Recently a young man in a pre-release class at OCF was stopped from coming to his classes by Corrections staff because he had been rude to a volunteer tutor. It turned out that the person he was rude too had asked him to read out loud in front of others in his unit. This young man does have poor literacy skills and he had gotten very upset at the request. His case manager approached one of our tutors to say that he had really enjoyed our first class and was keen to carry on with the course. At the tutors suggestion, some 1-1 tutoring time was arranged, to give him the opportunity to complete the goals of the course which included writing up a new CV. After one 1-1 session, he was given the chance to return to the class, and he continued with the group to complete the course with no problems.
The members of the Incredible Years group have been working really well together. During the group, they help each other by brainstorming ideas for strategies on how group members can cope with challenging situations with their children. We can think about what the parent might say or do in the situation and they can practice the words or actions in the safe environment of the group before trying them out with their children.
One parent was really worried about how to manage her son’s protests when she leaves him at school. She was reassured by other parents telling her that this is quite common and that children settle quickly once their parents have gone, and she was given some ideas about preparing him for his day before getting to school. Then she practised how she could say goodbye in a matter-of-fact manner, tell her son when she would be back and calmly walk away. The following week, the parent reported that it had worked so well that by the end of the week, her son was running into school with hardly a backward glance!
We discussed the difference and Jenny asked her what she felt had changed. She said that thinking ahead about what to do, having a plan and following through with it were key elements for her. She had remained calm and felt in control, and she thought that had helped her son to feel more confident too. This brought out some of the key principles of the programme, as it showed everyone how we can analyse a problem and break it down to think about what to do, we can follow a plan that is based on simple ideas such as routines, reassurance and calm instructions and how the way that we react to our children influences what they do. It was just one example in which the whole group was able to see these principles working in a practical way.
Client Support Service
Dawn from Take Ten Streets was talking with a gentleman in South Dunedin who was struggling financially and was not able to afford a lot of food. Dawn mentioned the Christmas Day food parcel. He said that he thought he would not be eligible for this, or assistance from food banks, as he was a single man living on his own. Dawn suggested that the CSW may be able to help so he came to visit Anna-Kristy at Little Citizens to see if he could get some assistance around Christmas time as he is a seasonal worker and there is no work for him at the moment. He lives in South Dunedin, and he also brought his friend (and neighbour) with him to this meeting. He has children which he pays child support for, and he also is on a benefit during the off season. They both spoke about how they thought there was not enough support for men living alone in South Dunedin. We talked about how he can access food parcels, and he filled out the paper work for the Christmas Day food parcel. He has made an appointment to catch up next week also about his current housing situation.
Early Years Hub
We were pleased to have the Methodist Women’s Fellowship come for afternoon tea. They brought with them some of the wonderful Welcome Packs they have been making during the year. These packs are much sought after by Well Child and Plunket Nurses with some going to NICU, Family Start and The Birth Support Group at Catholic Social Services. There has been another successful weekend block course for the Plunket Antenatal Classes at the beginning of the month. Phillip the co ordinator of the Baby Wearing Library has started monthly workshops for Parents to highlight the benefits of baby wearing along with instructions on how to wear slings correctly. There have been several families who have visited the Hub this month who have recently moved from the North Island. All have been interested to find out what is going on in South Dunedin and all have expressed an interest in the Music and Movement group, several of the play groups as well as the cooking classes.
Beyond 10 Streets
Over the last couple of weeks progress towards resident involvement in pushing for the Library and Community Hub has made some progress. The key resident involved so far has approached some of the local businesses in King Edward Street to see whether they would support the Library project, the response she has had has been really positive. It has been advised that the Chairman of the South Dunedin Businesses Association be approached to discuss possible support in pushing for the Library. The key resident is keen to petition for the project, to research and to take action but would rather someone else take the actual lead in spearheading that action. Our next aim is to arrange a meeting at the Hub of other particularly interested residents, as soon as possible, to see if someone would come forward to take on that role, with the full support of others, and take the next step to achieving their goal.