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KidsCan Founder recognized as Emerging Leader


28TH JULY 2008

KidsCan Founder recognized as Emerging Business Leader

KidsCan Founder and General Manager, Julie Helson has been recognized as an Emerging Business Leader in the prestigious Sir Peter Blake Awards.

Helson set up The KidsCan Charitable Trust almost 3 years ago with her husband Carl Sunderland to help level the playing field with child poverty in New Zealand. KidsCan runs a number of programmes to help disadvantaged children in low decile schools including ‘Raincoats for Kids’, ‘Shoes for Kids’ and ‘Food for Kids’.

The Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Awards, are presented to six people recognised as younger leaders of considerable potential. Julie Helson was the only winner from a not for profit organization. The announcement was made on Saturday 26th July at Parliament by His Excellency, Honourable Anand Satyanand, Governor General of New Zealand and Pippa Lady Blake.

Julie Helson says “It’s a tremendous honour to be recognised by the Sir Peter Blake Trust and have the work we do at KidsCan the focus of attention. The award is shared by everyone in the KidsCan team. Over the past 3 years we have provided 24,000 free adidas All Blacks raincoats and 3,000 pairs of shoes and we distribute 240,000 food items a year to disadvantaged Kiwi kids. For many people it’s hard to believe that child poverty exists in this country, this award will help get this message across”.

KidsCan currently supports 91 schools from Kaitaia to Invercargill with a further 100 schools and 20,000 children on the waiting list. “More New Zealanders need to be aware of the extent of this problem in their own back yard” says Helson. “Each winter Kiwi kids go to school hungry, cold and wet and sometimes without shoes and sometimes only filling their stomachs with what they get from the water fountain. In some cases they stay at home because they don’t have suitable cold weather clothing”.

Research by Massey University has shown that this affects a child’s ability to learn and that KidsCan’s programmes help reduce absentee levels and improve learning ability. “Every child has the human right to food, clothing and a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being” continues Helson. “Thousands of Kiwi kids are missing out on this right which to me is completely unacceptable. I am totally committed to ensuring KidsCan continues to level the playing field for New Zealand children less fortunate than others so they can go to school and reach their full potential”.



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