Ask Alanda what life was like a couple of years ago and she will speak of family stress and the incredible difficulty she and her husband had trying to make ends meet. Like many families throughout Aotearoa New Zealand today, they had a steady income but with rising costs and growing children, things were tough.
When someone at suggested Alanda come to Visionwest’s Whānau Centre for some help and advice to get them back on track, she didn’t hesitate.
“I admit I was terribly nervous about asking for help and about what the people at Visionwest might think of me, but I was greeted with a friendly face and smiles from everyone. The most awesome thing was that everyone was very respectful, and I never felt judged in anyway. I felt like I could ask any question and receive an honest answer.”
The team at the Whānau Centre listened carefully to Alanda and took time to think about how to best respond to the
needs she and her whānau had. As Alanda explains:
“I felt stressed out, because we’re trying to raise our kids well, but it can be so expensive. We worked hard but were always short of money and creeping into debt.”
Alanda and her whānau were supported by a number of Visionwest’s services including food, counselling, and housing. She also met with one of our Education and Training Centre staff to talk about training for future employment.
A couple of years on, Alanda looks back with gratitude and says:
“Visionwest saved us as a family. They gave us the support and guidance we needed. Once we had that we felt really motivated to keep going. I guess we were given hope that we could survive financially and as a family. I’m so grateful for Visionwest. They have done so much for us. Even just knowing we can go to them for food if ever we need it is a huge weight off our shoulders.”
Alanda is like a lot of people who need support and guidance, she recognised her needs but didn’t know where to go for answers.
“Visionwest took away all that fear for me. I don’t know what would have happened to our life, our family, or our marriage without Visionwest.”
Looking to the future, Alanda wants to secure a job and return to the workforce – she knows a little more family income would make a huge difference to their lives. More than that, though, she wants to be a good role model for her children and let them see that she is doing something positive with her life. She’s not sure what sort of job she’s looking for but says she would like to do something that helped others in the community in the same way that she’s been helped.