We had the pleasure of holding our last Do Some Good volunteer day at Porirua School with the children and staff headed up by Principal Vanessa Hendry and her team. We were joined by a group of Kiwibank and Yoobee staff who gave their volunteer day up to spend at the school.
We met with Vanessa prior to the volunteer day to see what jobs she was most keen to have us do. Gardening and cleaning the school walls were on top of the list. We got brushes and buckets to clean the walls, and with support from Jackie Smith and the Bunnings Porirua team, we obtained vegetables and compost for the garden. The day started with a welcome and briefing from the Do Some Good team followed by a welcome from Vanessa. Then we split into teams and dived into the jobs. The most rewarding part of the day was the children joining in and helping with the jobs. They loved interacting with our volunteers. They were such a big help and a true joy to be around.
The volunteers hear all sorts of wonderful stories from the children; what they like to eat, their last holiday, their favourite sport/TV show etc. It is heart-warming and humbling at the same time knowing some of these kids have it pretty tough in their day to day life. What we tend to take for granted (three meals a day, a warm home, warm clothes, etc.) is not the norm for them.
We provided a sausage sizzle lunch for the children and staff, the children love it (who doesn’t love a sausage sizzle?!), vegan and vegetarian options included of course! Thanks to Dan and the Pak’nSave Porirua team who provided the bread for lunch.
This is a real treat for the kids, and some kids come back for two or three sausages. It is a nice opportunity for the volunteers to spend more time interacting with the kids. After lunch we played some games with the kids. The Kiwibank team were split between some on court basketball action and football on the field. After lunch we finished up with the jobs and then came the very best part of the day. The children put on a concert for us. It was hard to hold back tears as we watched these young children singing with such heart and pride, they sang three lovely songs for us including Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. I don’t think I am alone when I say that every Do Some Good team member is thinking this is why we are here doing what we do. After the concert, some of the kids came over to the volunteers and gave us hugs, telling us what a great day they had. They are so grateful and happy and walk away with huge smiles on their faces – as do we.
These days are more rewarding that I can explain, in some small way we have made a difference, not only by improving the school for Vanessa and her team so they can continue to do the fantastic work they do with these kids but to the kids themselves, putting a smile on their face and creating good memories.