Both a thought-provoking question, and the name of a charity that aims to connect New Zealanders with opportunities to make a difference in their communities.
The name and premise of the Who Did You Help Today Trust was born of that simple question that Stacey Shortall, founder of the Trust and MinterEllisonRuddWatts Partner, asks her tamariki around the dinner table each evening.
And it is a question that has resonated strongly with New Zealanders from all walks of life since the Who Did You Help Today Trust was established in 2015, and has led to thousands of volunteers helping their fellow Kiwis.
“Many people want to help and are deeply concerned about the inequities permeating our society, but don’t know where to start or how to channel their energy and resources,” says Stacey.
“More and more workplaces are also focusing on their ESG objectives and are looking for ways that their employees can give back to the communities in which they operate.”
Who Did You Help Today? exists to connect those people and workplaces with opportunities to make a positive difference.
While those initiatives are the key focuses for Who Did You Help Today?, Stacey is quick to point out that helping need not be a big gesture.
“My children have grown up thinking it’s what everyone does. They might answer, they passed the ball to someone who doesn’t always get a shot, picked up a lunchbox a child dropped at school or helped me unload the car.”
The same is true of helping as an adult. Stacey says, “Some issues look really big, but something small always helps. You might not know the impact your interaction will have, but it may help someone at a low point in their life.”
At its heart, Who Did You Help Today is based on the belief that the social and environmental issues facing New Zealand (be it housing, cost of living, climate change, violence, access to quality health care and education cannot be meaningfully solved until we address the chronic inequities that contribute to them. The very first step in addressing those inequities and the myriad of causes must be building empathy and understanding.
Who Did You Help Today? exists to give people the opportunity to help fellow New Zealanders and, in so doing, build the empathy and understanding we need to move forward as a more fair, equitable and sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand.
If you are interested in volunteering for any of Who Did You Help Today? initiatives (as an individual or a workplace), or would like to support us in another way, please contact our Trust Manager at [email protected] or visit whodidyouhelptoday.org for more information.
Some issues look really big, but something small always helps. You might not know the impact your interaction will have, but it may help someone at a low point in their life.
Who did you help today? initiatives
Homework Club pairs a workplace with a low decile school. Volunteers attend once a week during term time to work with the tamariki in whatever way the school thinks will best support their learning.
Homework Club runs a very flexible model that aims to meet the needs of the particular school and tamariki – it might be helping of help with homework or reading, playing board games or sports, or one-on-one attention and discussions.
The spirit of Homework Club is reciprocal – the tamariki spend time with adults with different careers and backgrounds who are taking an interest in their education journey, and the volunteers get to experience the energy and potential that exists amongst New Zealand’s tamariki, gaining a deeper understanding of the additional challenges faced by far too many.
HelpTank is an online platform that matches not-for-profit organisations with volunteers with the skills to help them. Individuals sign up on HelpTank.nz listing their skills and interests and are automatically notified when a not-for-profit posts a matching project.
HelpTank is a free resource for community organisations and has enormous potential to help them build capacity and increase their impact by getting access to the skills they need to advance their kaupapa.
HelpTank currently has more than 1600 volunteers registered and over 690 not-for-profit organisations.
Mothers Project sends volunteer lawyers into women’s prison facilities across the country to help wāhine with any issues concerning their tamariki. Maintaining connections between mothers and their children during a period of incarceration has been shown to benefit for both mother and child, but the practical realities of geography, lack of access to phone and audiovisual links and the challenges of the prison environment often make this very difficult.
Mothers Project volunteers can help in all manner of ways, but often make phone calls to family members, caregivers or Oranga Tamariki and other support agencies, put the mother in touch with a legal aid family lawyer, provide an update or photos of a child, or even just explain her rights as a parent and aspects of the family court process.
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