Volunteers reap rewards from helping others
17 June 2008
Volunteers at community centre - helping others as much as themselves
For the volunteers at Manukau City Council’s Clendon 454 Programme helping young people stay on the straight and narrow offers personal rewards as well.
Every Monday to Friday night between 6 and 9pm youth drop into the Te Matariki Clendon Centre to take part in a variety of activities. These include mentoring, art classes, music lessons, DJ programmes and leisure activities.
Te Matariki’s youth coordinator Joseph Collins said the programme was started in response to several incidents in and around the centre prior to his appointment in October 2006.
“The community centre is a great facility However, we noticed that when it was closed, local youth would congregate outside at the skatepark, making a nuisance of themselves and getting into trouble,” says Joseph.
“At first the programme was really low-key. Abram Toa aka ‘DJ Stronghand’ was one of our first volunteers. He bought along his laptop including a DJ program and drew the kids in from the cold. Abram has moved on from mixing it up for the locals and is now a DJ at Niu FM.”
“More people volunteered, artist Issac Westerlund runs workshops and other DJ’s give their time. Today we have a growing number of volunteers. Some of them were former youth offenders and helping out at the centre has seen them grow. Their participation has proved personally rewarding,” says Joseph.
Between 15 and 35 kids regularly attend the programme and the level of incidents outside the centre has reduced.
Clendon 454 was chosen by the youth attending the programme
and originates from the bus route number for Clendon.