Donate Now to support parents like Gemma

Gemma* spent most of the lockdown in a tiny flat at a women’s shelter, where she had been with her kids since November. Two weeks ago she moved into a slightly bigger motel unit – this one at least has a separate bedroom – provided for her by WINZ while she awaits a statehouse placement. She was at ‘home’ here in her cramped bubble when we caught up with her on the phone. Gemma juggled the phone in one hand while folding washing with the other, and delegated chores to her kids as we talked. Read Gemma’s full story below. 


Gemma’s Story


Gemma’s Story

The lockdown was challenging for many families, but I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if you were a single mum with three kids and your bubble location was a one-room emergency housing unit.

Gemma’s story is one of hope. Gemma first came to Parenting Place two years ago. She was on her own at 31 with three kids, having left an abusive relationship. “I was struggling to cope. My kids are so gorgeous – they’re my everything, but they were ruling the roost and I had lost control.”

Recognising that she needed help that was tailored to her family, Gemma took a bold step and contacted Parenting Place to enquire about family coaching. Her only hesitation was the possible cost. Thankfully we were able to offer her a subsidy, without which she says she would not have been able to attend these life-changing sessions.

Thanks to the generosity of supporters like you, Gemma was able to see Parenting Place family coach Joy on a regular basis and gain vital tools for rebuilding her family and reshaping their future.

Gemma remembers earlier walking into Joy’s office feeling deflated and defeated. But now she has a folder full of personalised strategies from each of her family coaching sessions. This has become one of Gemma’s most valuable possessions. She regularly goes back to it to look over the notes – reminding herself of the great insights and encouraging herself with how far she’s come.

What did Gemma most appreciate from the coaching? “The support. Somebody is there for me – and not just a name at a department, but someone who really cares about you and your family.” This encouragement has gone a long way, sustaining Gemma through some unimaginably difficult times, but also empowering her to take on a remarkable extra challenge amidst it all.

Gemma is now in her first semester of a four-year social work degree. The massive undertaking of full-time study was motivated by a drive to financially support her family, but also by Gemma’s passion to help others deal with some of the tough realities of life that she herself is only too familiar with.

“Previously I would turn a blind eye to stuff because I just didn’t have the energy. But when you have a hold on the kids, that helps with all aspects of life”.

Throughout the lockdown, Gemma drew on the skills she gained from her family coaching sessions, especially tools for keeping calm and listening well so her kids always feel heard and valued.

“Family coaching is worth more than words can describe. Joy has become my mentor and someone I would now call my cheerleader and my friend.”

We deeply desire to see thousands more families experience this life-changing transformation at this time, but we can’t do it without your help. If you are able to make a special gift, more parents like Gemma will be able to receive the lifeline they long for.

Whatever you are able to give today for families like Gemma’s, thank you for supporting New Zealand whānau to thrive.

*Name changed

Parenting Place is the charity with a heart for New Zealand families

As a charity, it is the time, energy and money given by thousands of New Zealanders that make the delivery of our life-changing programmes possible.

Established in 1993, Parenting Place is New Zealand’s charity for families, working to enhance the lives of families and young people in communities and schools throughout New Zealand. We do this by encouraging and strengthening parents with parenting programmes and resources that make a difference while being accessible, fun and inspiring.

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