Janice was on a downward spiral to financial ruin. Her three mokopuna (grandchildren) were often living with her as their mother dealt with ongoing drug addiction, and stretching a single person benefit to feed her mokopuna and herself, was impossible.
But the situation was a repeat of a pattern spanning seven years, and Salvation Army financial mentor Lucia Daniels knew that just handing out food parcels was not going to solve it.
She began working with Janice on a regular basis, providing her with in-depth support.
This included visiting her at home and getting to know her mokopuna and the ongoing needs of her whānau.
Janice saw the greatest need was for her mokopuna. The Salvation Army continued to support her whānau with weekly food parcels, school uniforms, school stationery vouchers, Kmart vouchers for school footwear and a dresser from the Family Store.
The Salvation Army’s ongoing financial mentoring aims to build sustainable financial capability. The client and the financial mentor both sign a Financial Mentoring Agreement, which will allow, where necessary, the financial mentor to contact creditors on the client’s behalf and negotiate new repayment terms.
The financial mentor prepares a budget worksheet, debt schedule (if the client has debts) and a 12-month cashflow.
The client is fully involved in, and in control of all decisions, with the ultimate goal of working out their own financial action plan as their financial management skills grow.
Janice says, thanks to Lucia’s help and ongoing support, this year is looking much brighter.
“The kids are doing really well. I feel really good because everything has worked out for the best".
“I am very proud of Janice for keeping her mokopuna safe,” Lucia says.
Lucia had not seen Janice for a few months, and after Janice dropped in a lovely Christmas card and present, Lucia dropped by to see her.
“The children came out to greet me. They have lost what I call the ‘poverty look’. They now have clear skin and eyes, have gained weight and are well dressed. They told me about their school plans for 2021.”
It is a privilege to be invited into people’s lives when they are vulnerable and unsure. That’s when we can use our skills, knowledge and networks to strengthen and connect them with resources that encourage independence and control of situations that happen around them.
To see a family, grow and bloom and for their lives to change is the most rewarding part of the work.
Janice is now in a place where she is able to enjoy having her mokopuna with her, they are thriving as a whānau and the new skills Janice has gained will mean that if she finds herself in a similar position in the future she has a full kete of tools she can draw from.
You can help countless families like Janice's by donating to this years Back to School appeal, and easing the financial burden of such a stressful time of year.
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