Kids Can Charitable Trust
Our keynote speaker was Julie Shepherd from the Kids Can Charitable Trust.
Julie gave us a background on the trust which was founded in her garage in 2005.  Being aware of media reports on New Zealand Children going without basics she undertook an evaluation of 80 low decile schools to see if the problem reported in the media was as bad as it was said to be.
The evaluation established that children at those schools were going hungry, not wearing shoes and turning up wet and cold in bad weather because they did not own raincoats. In the evaluation schools reported that this had a major impact on the childrens learning ability, esteem and health.  The downstream effect of this is that these children become ill more often, do not succed at school and as adults are more likely to be unemployed and have children who go through the same cycle.
And so with a funding grant from what is now Perpetual Guardian the Kids Can Charitable trust was established in her garage.
The charity supports thousands of children providing food, shoes socks raincoats and basic hygiene items.
The program works. Evaluations show that Kids Can programs have a significant impact in that they are reducing social issues, increase and improve class room participation and raise the self esteem of the children.
Julie told us that the various levels of child poverty. 305,000 children live in hardship. 29% of the total number of children in New Zealand. 1 in 4 children regularly go without the things they need.
Broken down the numbers are concerning. One in 3 Pacific children live in poverty, one in 3 Maori children and 1 in 6 European children live in poverty.
Julie also made the comment that it is not single parents whiling away their time playing pokies, drinking Cody’s and smoking various substances while waiting for the next benefit day that make up those in poverty.
37% are parents in paid employment. And a significant number (47%0 of those households in poverty are two-parent families.
Julie told us most parents want the best for their children but cannot afford it. Julie told us about the costs of poverty. A dollar figure of $6-$8 billion was suggested. 3 to 4% of GDP. Children going to school hungry without the right clothing have issues with health higher rates of offending far less educational achievement. That leads to significant loss of productivity in the workplace.
What Kids Can does. 
It works with children at primary school, supports them through primary school and sometimes beyond.
It runs a raincoats for kids program, a shoes for kids program and more recently a health for kids program.
Over the years it has:
  • Worked with 576 schools;
  • provided over 16 million items of food;
  • provided over110,000 shoes;
  •  provided over 220,000 pairs of socks
  • Provided over 318,000 health and hygiene programs,
to about 131,000 children.
The Charity is looking at extending its work using the same or similar model to early childhood education which is an area no other charities appear to be working on.
Julie told us that in 2015 81% of Kids Cans funding went to children. The issue is operational funding because as Julie put it pallets do not pack themselves. This is the ongoing concern.
Julie told us a major source of kids can funding as the monthly support program. For a small donation on a monthly basis children are supported.  Kids Can also accepts sponsorship, one off donations, payroll giving to fund the charity.
Julie’s aim is to put herself out of a job. If you can alleviate poverty that will happen.
All in all a very useful and thought-provoking address from someone who is actively working to alleviate child poverty.
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