Matapuna Training Centre calls for support

LIKE FAMILY: Students from Matapuna Training Centre say the family environment at their school helps them learn. Here seven of the around 50 students are with principal Jodie Cook. The school is on the waiting list for NZ charity KidsCan, which can help provide the basics to students like breakfast and shoes. But first, KidsCan needs more local people to support them so they have the funding to pass on. From left are Matapuna students Mihi Hape, 15, Jahmira Tuari, 15, Rochea Moeke, 16, Deijana Edwards, 16, Principal Jodie Cook, Anahera Edmonds, 17, Harlem Peachey, 17, Harawira Rangihuna, 17. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

MATAPUNA Training Centre is the education safety net for Gisborne students who have been kicked out of school, or left without the basic requirements of NCEA levels 1 and 2.

Not having items like shoes or breakfast can keep students from attending school. Which is why Matapuna principal Jodie Cook has made sure her school is on the waiting list for the New Zealand charity KidsCan, which provides these basics, and more, for kiwi kids.

They meet the criteria for funding, but more Gisborne sponsors are needed before more funds are available for Gisborne students.

In the meantime Matapuna is on the waiting list.

“We do basic food because we identified quite some time ago there were several days a week kids had nothing. And not having the basics was a barrier to attendance.”

Ms Cook said the funding from KidsCan would covers the basics like breakfast, shoes, band aids, and stationery, which meant they could use all of their Government funding for education and learning resources for the at-risk youths.

The 50 students at Matapuna Training Centre range in age from 13-18.

They are not rated in the decimal system but if they were, it would be the lowest ranking of decimal 1, Ms Cook said.

It is a fees-free school and they take in the highest risk children.

The biggest goal for their students, Ms Cook said, is to get them into employment.

“We have some amazing success stories and successful outcomes.”

Past students come and share their stories of what they have become: builders, nurses, a model, glaziers, teachers, a social worker and more.

Without Matapuna, they would not progress into apprenticeships.

Students who attend Matapuna say they love learning there as the students and staff are “like family”.

“You can make yourself at home. We are all family here and get along.

“Most of us were kicked out of high school. But here we enjoy a much better education system.”

The school has been using the archery club hall for almost 16 years, but the training centre as a whole has been in Disraeli Street for 30 years.

Ms Cook said it was for people who have left secondary school without the minimum qualification, or for people who want to re-enter the education system and need to gain NCEA.

MATAPUNA Training Centre is the education safety net for Gisborne students who have been kicked out of school, or left without the basic requirements of NCEA levels 1 and 2.

Not having items like shoes or breakfast can keep students from attending school. Which is why Matapuna principal Jodie Cook has made sure her school is on the waiting list for the New Zealand charity KidsCan, which provides these basics, and more, for kiwi kids.

They meet the criteria for funding, but more Gisborne sponsors are needed before more funds are available for Gisborne students.

In the meantime Matapuna is on the waiting list.

“We do basic food because we identified quite some time ago there were several days a week kids had nothing. And not having the basics was a barrier to attendance.”

Ms Cook said the funding from KidsCan would covers the basics like breakfast, shoes, band aids, and stationery, which meant they could use all of their Government funding for education and learning resources for the at-risk youths.

The 50 students at Matapuna Training Centre range in age from 13-18.

They are not rated in the decimal system but if they were, it would be the lowest ranking of decimal 1, Ms Cook said.

It is a fees-free school and they take in the highest risk children.

The biggest goal for their students, Ms Cook said, is to get them into employment.

“We have some amazing success stories and successful outcomes.”

Past students come and share their stories of what they have become: builders, nurses, a model, glaziers, teachers, a social worker and more.

Without Matapuna, they would not progress into apprenticeships.

Students who attend Matapuna say they love learning there as the students and staff are “like family”.

“You can make yourself at home. We are all family here and get along.

“Most of us were kicked out of high school. But here we enjoy a much better education system.”

The school has been using the archery club hall for almost 16 years, but the training centre as a whole has been in Disraeli Street for 30 years.

Ms Cook said it was for people who have left secondary school without the minimum qualification, or for people who want to re-enter the education system and need to gain NCEA.

KidsCan supports 27 schools in the Gisborne region, giving 4,567 children access to their programmes.

KidsCan CEO and Founder Julie Chapman said KidsCan provided to schools Food for Kids, Shoes for Kids, Raincoats for Kids and Health for Kids programmes.

“We work with them to access what level of support is needed in their school. They may access all our programmes (raincoats, food, shoes and socks, and health), or they may only need help with certain areas.”

Each monthly donor who becomes a sponsor for $15 a month, helps us to provide a child with the following:

Food items: Scroggin, Baked Beans, Fruits Pottles, Tasti Bars, Easyio, Jam and Peanut butter.

A Raincoat. A pair of shoes and two pairs of socks.

Health items – plasters, tissues, hand sanitizer.

“We provide other items, but they are not covered by the $15 a month. For example bread, feminine hygiene items and head lice treatment.”

To become a sponsor for Gisborne children, and help Matapunu get off the waiting list, visit their website www.kidscan.org.nz or call (09) 478 1525

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