In early 2018, Tim Baker contacted I Have a Dream to inquire about becoming a volunteer mentor. Tim, who is originally from Paeroa, lives in Whangarei with his family. For a while, Tim had been feeling the need to give back to his community, not just financially, but also with his time. Tim’s son had recently gone away to university which left Tim with some spare time to give another local young person.
Tim learned of I Have a Dream through Volunteering Northland. What drew Tim to the I Have a Dream cause, was the concept of early intervention in a young person’s life; that by getting involved early, and providing the relevant support and resources, we can help tamariki achieve their educational goals, learn valuable social skills, build long lasting relationships and contribute positively to our communities.
Tim was paired with dreamer Juarn – an 11 year old from Tikipunga Primary School. After attending mentor training and a series of group events, Tim and Juarn began to form a special bond. So much so, that Juarn asked how long he gets to keep Tim! Once the relationship was formed, Tim was introduced to Juarn’s family – a vital part of the experience which ensures whanau are fully involved in the mentor/dreamer journey. Meeting the family could not have gone better,
“I came away feeling very humbled that they would let me into their lives; and encouraged that they had the foresight to see that their son would benefit from this programme” Tim said.
After meeting Juarn’s whanau, Tim and Juarn were able to have their first one on one outing, an event that they were really looking forward to. Despite never having had a mentor himself, Tim is happy to carve his own mentor/dreamer path and believes his pragmatic and stable character as well as his resolute positivity will be of great use on this journey. Taking this approach, Tim envisions his mentoring experiences with Juarn to be a mixture of ‘getting away from it all’ and ‘doing something new’. What could be better than going fishing! It was Juarn who mentioned that he’d never been fishing, and whilst not a great fisherman himself, Tim was excited that they could share in this experience.
Juarn and Tim had their fishing trip on Parua Bay wharf where Juarn caught has first ever fish, a snapper. Alas, it was about a centimetre too small to keep but part of the fun was releasing it and seeing it swim away. Tim wasn’t sure who was more excited – Juarn or himself!
During Tim’s mentoring journey, he has been keeping his employer, AGSpares, updated on his progress. AGSpares, a tractor supply company, has been fully supportive of Tim needing to occasionally leave work early to join Juarn in his IHAD After School Programme. Tim’s manager, Ross Boon (MD of AGSpares), is involved with the National Assistance Fund which supports causes serving the well-being of NZ society, and through his conversations with Tim learned about I Have a Dream. Ross saw that the National Assistance Fund shared a mission and values with I Have a Dream which led to the National Assistance Fund donating $5,000 to our programme.
Tim’s belief in I Have a Dream and our volunteer programme really show through when he speaks about being a mentor and a part of our family. We currently have around 60 volunteers, of which 15 are mentors. We are working towards doubling these numbers. If you,or someone you know, are considering giving back to your community or would like to learn more about the many ways in which you can get involved with I Have a Dream, please contact Diane@ihaveadream.org.nz.
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futures for Kiwi kids.