Who Did You Help Today?

Who Did You Help Today? is both a thought-provoking question and the name of a charity known for “unleashing the magic of helping”.

Founder Stacey Shortall asks her children that question over dinner each night, and mentioned it during a speech at an awards dinner.

“The room went silent … then people started asking how they could help our community projects,” says Stacey.

The Who Did You Help Today trust now facilitates three projects – Homework Club which commenced in 2014 followed by Mothers Project in 2015 and HelpTank in 2016.

Homework Clubs are a simple way to increase community engagement in promoting the social, emotional and academic growth of children, opening doors to a brighter future for our kiwi kids. The trust partners firms, businesses or organisations with local low decile primary schools. The programme is simple: a school makes available classroom or library space for students to gather to work on their reading or other homework, and a group of volunteers spends an hour a week helping these kids with their homework.

Volunteer lawyers from Mothers Project. Second from right: Ruth Patterson, Corrections Northern Region Volunteer Co-ordinator

Mothers Project organises volunteer female lawyers to visit the four women’s prisons in New Zealand each month. The volunteers help imprisoned mothers understand their responsibilities and rights regarding their children. Volunteers assist mothers to understand where their children are, who is caring for them and what the mothers need to do in order to preserve their legal rights. Volunteers make calls to Oranga Tamariki (the Ministry for Children), family members, caregivers, schools and Legal Aid lawyers, to open communication lines and share information, and arrange prison calls and visits with children as appropriate.

Volunteer lawyers from Mothers Project entering prison gates

HelpTank is New Zealand’s first home-grown digital platform that matches not-for-profits with skilled professionals to enhance collective capability to achieve social change. HelpTank brings together capability with need in our country so that people reconnect for good.

Who Did You Help Today has volunteers and organisations all over New Zealand involved in each project. The result is HelpTank now has over 700 professionals sharing their skills with not-for-profit organisations who need them. Mothers Project has 100 female lawyer volunteers supporting children of mothers in prison. Homework Club has 300 business volunteers helping more than 600 low decile primary school children with homework.

whodidyouhelptoday.org

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