Gordon* was coming to school without lunch and had withdrawn as he worried about his family.
Kristen, the new Social Worker in School, wanted to connect with the family so she took them a Christmas hamper and introduced herself.
Gordon lived in a three-bedroom house with his nana, his aunty and her partner, five cousins, younger sister, and two uncles. His mum had moved overseas with two of his other younger siblings.
The kids missed school when they had no lunch, and transporting them there was difficult. Nana works long shifts and bedding and clothing for everyone was limited. When Gordon’s mother returned, two families were living under one roof.
“Gordon started coming to my office at school at lunchtime to say ‘hi’. He drew a picture of the things he likes: playing rugby and eating food.”
Housing shortages meant finding somewhere else for Gordon’s aunty and her family to live was difficult but the Family Works team persisted until they found a house.
They then sourced blankets and household items, as well as winter clothes and shoes for the children so they could come to school warm and proudly dressed.
Kristen asked the local rugby club to sign Gordon up, but he was worried about the cost of fees, boots and a uniform. The club helped cover the fees, Kristen sourced some rugby boots and Gordon’s uncle offered to take him to training and games.
Gordon’s nana phoned me the next day and said “You would never believe – I just woke Gordon up and he was sleeping with his new boots in his bed. He doesn’t want to let them go.”
Family Works is financially mentoring both families and a neighbouring family is helping to get the kids to and from school.
“Gordon’s family are generous, kind and loving – all they needed was extra support. Gordon recently told me he had played his best game of rugby yet. His team lost, but he scored two tries and won Player of the Day. That smile of his will stick with me forever.”