Home' Christchurch Mail : August 30th 2012 Contents 15
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, AUGUST 30, 2012
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in v riety of re din s. iemke Ensin ,
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Buddy discovers more
to it than she expected
Shanae joined Pillars' mentoring programme because her mother
''had someone in prison''. DEBORAH SWANEY, who runs the
programme in Christchurch, recently caught up with Shanae (not real
name), 12, and her mentor Milesa Cepe.
SHANAE'S MOTHER'S part-
ner is in prison.
But a special connection
over the last 12 months has
given added life added value
for Shanae, who has been
meeting weekly with Milesa, a
It has turned out to be a
For Shanae, mentoring
meant she would go out and do
fun things with an older per-
For Milesa, to be accepted as
a volunteer mentor after in-
depth training, offered the
opportunity to be a role model
for a young person -- but the
relationship has become much
more than she expected.
When I started I thought it
would be quite structured, but
it has turned into something
more like a friendship. We just
really enjoy being together.''
Normally their visits consist
of just hanging out'', whether
that's at Milesa's house or at
the local park.
It's an invaluable experi-
ence and being with Shanae
has taught me more about
myself and my own values.
Being with her has made
me aware of who I am, because
she is so curious about me.''
Shanae says it has helped
her to connect better with her
peers at school.
Milesa had also offered
advice about stuff'' that she
has been struggling with.
Milesa loves Shanae's posi-
She's taught me that you
can overcome almost anything
with a good attitude.''
If your family has been
affected by imprisonment and
you are interested in becoming
involved with Pillars, call 0508
Pillars, or visit pillars.org.nz.
BIG BRAD: Pillars chief executive Verna McFelin with Pillars ambassador Brad Thorn who, 18 months ago, opened
the charity's world-first website, Just Us, backed by actor Paul Newman's own foundation. The interactive online
site also features a space character named Justin. Thorn, a father of four, spoke of his compassion for children
and said that as he considered future options, he responded to the work done by Pillars.
By ANNA PRICE
FAMILIES WITH a loved one in
prison are invited to bring their chil-
dren and teenagers to Pillars for
Men interested in being a good
mate to boys with a parent in prison
are also sought.
The unique Christchurch-based
charity backed by All Black legend
Brad Thorn is keen to support more
families -- and hear from good blokes
to mentor boys.
Pillars manages government con-
tracts for providing children's ment-
oring schemes and pre- and post-
release support for offenders.
Founder and chief executive
Verna McFelin said the one-on-one
support helped the children reach
their potential with proven results.
These boys need someone to talk
to who does not judge them or who
they are or where they come from,''
They need someone to kick a ball
around with them, help with home-
work, fishing, anything boys like
doing, whatever time fits.''
It was only Thorn's Japan rugby
contract that stopped him becoming
a mentoring buddy. Instead he was
made a Pillars ambassador.
The partnership with prisoners
and their families and friends was
the foundation of Pillars' crime-free
society thrust -- acting as a bridge
between prison and the community
using a case management,
strengths-based approach, Mrs
We recognise the value of famil-
ies and community as assets to the
corrections system and society
because of the major role they can
play in the successful re-integration
of a former offender into society to
Youngsters tended to carry the
responsibility for a parent's crime,
Mrs McFelin said.
They feel shame, embarrassment
and guilt, and don't feel free to talk
about their feelings at school. Here,
they have a safe place.''
As the organisation heads toward
its 25th year, its results and ground-
breaking interactive website, Just
Us, have won Pillars international
In the quest for more male ment-
ors, Mrs McFelin also invites anyone
with children who have a loved one
in prison to join us to be a part of
this exciting programme''.
Those interested please call Pil-
lars on 377 3990.
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