Jacinta Krefft has been running Challenge for Change, a Wellington-based mentoring course that takes 9 to 13-year-old children and pairs them with adult mentors, for over a decade. Each young person is matched with a carefully selected and trained adult mentor who provides guidance, friendship and support. Krefft believes passionately in the power of building supportive communities and fostering a cycle of longer-lasting relationships throughout the Challenge for Change journey. She’s open-hearted and endlessly generous to those around her. We asked her to tell us why she is the wonderful way she is.
What is happening in the world of Jacinta Krefft for 2013?
Community is my focus at the moment. It's an evolving process, involving research, reflection and simultaneously participating in a developing community unfolding. We are halfway through training a group of inspirational volunteers who are about to be matched with young people aged 9 to 13 who for various reasons need a boost in their lives. We've had two situations in the past few months where a young person who was mentored, has now trained to become a mentor, which reflects the ongoing circle of community giving and support. Young people and their mentors are coming back to help cook the meals for the mentors in training. All of this interconnectedness weaves together to create the fabric of community that is both more secure and promotes richer, longer-lasting relationships. Relationships are the substance of life as far as I'm concerned.
Describe the most generous person you know and how they have influenced you.
Mary Margaret Moran had 13 children with her husband Kevin and then went on to adopt two more. Every Friday night she cooked fresh fish and had her kids deliver it to elderly people in the neighbourhood who lived on their own. Sunday night was a repeat performance with scones hot from the oven going to some very happy recipients. If anyone needed a babysitter she was called upon and the child was welcomed into a home full of love and adventure. Okay yes, she is my mum. I know it's not a super original response but if I'm honest, she is my inspiration. She was graciousness and generosity incarnate. Generosity towards the elderly and children, and being such an inspiring role model to her own children has so undoubtedly influenced my life and the decisions I've made. With 15 children she didn't have a selfish cell in her body. She was always there, calm, creative and so resourceful, with a heart that kept stretching to include each successive child and neighbour she took in. A stand out experience for me was when I returned home to live when I was doing Social Work and I came home one day and told her the heart-wrenching story of a little boy who had been abandoned by his parents and she responded, "Bring him home Jacinta. Just bring him home!"
Name an everyday action that makes the world a better place, yet is underrated.
Giving the time to be present and to really listen with an open heart and mind. I am of course thinking about so many wonderful mentors. However, parents listening to their children and to each other, work mates and neighbours and even fellow passengers on buses and trains. I believe taking the time to listen makes the world a better place.
Tell us three things that inspire you and why.
1. Children in their innocence, spontaneity and exquisite beauty.
2. Walks in nature with my husband, especially around Wellington and the height of inspiration is discovering a walk that we haven't yet experienced.
3. Books. Children's picture books, books with wisdom and guidance and beautifully written novels.