Charity Stories

Charity Updates March 2013

One Percent Collective is only three months young and already, with the help of our incredible donors, we have raised over $10,000 to support the fantastic work of our partner charities. We believe in impact and we believe in transparency, which is why 100% of your donations go directly towards the charities of your choosing. We thought it was time to give you a run down of exactly where your 1% is making a difference in the world so we asked our partner charities to tell us where your donations have affected real change. 

 

Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre

The Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre celebrates its 9th birthday in March 2013 and what a phenomenal nine years it has been. From our first shared office with one therapist and a handful of clients, to our current location – a beautiful villa in Grey Lynn with three music therapy rooms and nine registered music therapists on the team.

Last year was an exceptional year for the Centre in terms of our growth and significant milestones we achieved. We delivered over 4000 music therapy sessions either at the Centre in Grey Lynn or via one of the 18 Outreach locations we work in around the greater Auckland area. November saw us provide music therapy sessions to a record number of 217 children and young people on one month.

Over 20 volunteers kindly donated their time to work with us on a range of activities from administration at the Centre, to assisting with the many fundraising activities we hold each year, to gardening and maintenance of our building. Their continued support and enthusiasm is greatly appreciated.

This year we have another busy year planned with a goal of offering music therapy sessions to 250 children by the middle of the year. With no statutory funding, we need to raise over $500,000 each year to continue to change the lives of so many young New Zealanders. None of this would be possible without the great support we receive from our volunteers, donors, sponsors, patrons, businesses and organisations such as One Percent Collective, who we are delighted to be working with in the digital space.

We are running a small unique event early next month. The Auckland Symphony Orchestra are holding a classical music concert on our behalf on Sunday March 3 at 2.30pm at the Raye Freedman Centre in Epsom. Tickets are available to purchase online at www.rmtc.org.nz or at the door and all proceeds from these sales come directly to the Centre.

For those of you who would like to know about the Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre and the work we do, there is a wealth of information on our website: www.rmtc.org.nz.

 

Project Jonah

Rescuing whales is hard work without knowledgeable helpers to lend a hand. That’s where Project Jonah comes in. We have over 2,000 trained volunteers from Kaitaia to Bluff, ready to respond at a moment’s notice when whales or dolphins strand. It’s been an unusually quiet summer thus far, with only eight reported strandings but the organisation has not slowed down its training program. 185 new recruits have already earned their credentials this year, giving them the skills they’ll need to get the marine mammals out of trouble and back out to sea when the need arises.

In fact, there are still spaces available in the next courses, held in Auckland on 2nd and 3rd March and in Tauranga on 23rd March. If you’re feeling a bit heroic and would like to become a certified cetacean-saver, check out the events on Facebook, sign up at projectjonah.org.nz, and be sure to follow Project Jonah via our newly revamped Twitter page.

 

Sustainable Coastlines

2012 was a year of major milestones for Sustainable Coastlines. We delivered educational presentations to more people, involved more volunteers in beach cleanups and planted more trees than ever before. We also recorded our largest event yet, with over 3,000 people involved in cleanups during our ‘Love your Coast’ Wellington project.

Early in the year we added two permanent members to the team. Chris Cochrane, Manager of Creative Projects, joined our crew in January, as did the Education Station, our modified shipping container that serves as a mobile classroom. These new recruits greatly extended our ability to deliver creative projects and spread our educational message far and wide.

Our charity has put huge effort into developing our educational offering; reaching out to more schools, delivering better awareness messages and improving our education tools to affect positive behavioural change. With more research, greater experience from previous years and an increasing focus in education, we are working harder than ever to look after the coastlines we all love. 2012 was a great year and 2013 promises to be even better.

 

SpinningTop

SpinningTop closed out 2012 with an incredible amount of highlights. Some of our key achievements included:

  • Providing stationery for over 13,000 vulnerable refugee children living on the Thai/ Burma border.
  • Rebuilding schools in rural Burma that were previously occupied by the military and where villagers had been forced to flee their homes for safety.
  • Continued support of the Thoo Mwee Khee Agricultural Project, growing over 4000kg of nutritious vegetables in the first year with extensions to the garden in the last 12 months that have increased capacity even further.
  • Providing the basic necessities for almost 300 orphaned, unaccompanied or abandoned children living in boarding facilities in Thailand.
  • Supporting shelters in Samoa for children who have been victims of sexual abuse through emergency food supplies for the shelter and working with a fantastic bunch of Kiwis on our 2012 volunteering trip to transform the collapsing shelters into homes.

These are just a small number of projects that SpinningTop worked on last year and this work will be continued in 2013 as well as a number of exciting new projects, which we are currently in development. Sustainability is core to everything we do, which is why we collaborate with a number of incredible organisations also working in our focus areas so that we can maximise our funding and impact, whilst keeping our team nice and small. To get a full view of 2012's achievements, just click here.

 

Amped4Life

Pat Buckley continues to impact right across the community through his charitable trust Amped4Life. 2013 holds exciting times for Pat, with at least another 50+ schools to deliver his life-changing and life-giving talk.

One of the best parts of Pat’s work is when he receives messages of thanks from the school kids. This recent message of thanks sums it all up:

“Hi Pat I just wanted to say thank you so much for coming in yesterday to talk to us in November. We all found your stories, experiences and messages really inspirational. I think what you do is amazing and I think it is incredible that you made your way out of such a dark place and turned your life around to help young people make the right decisions. What you said yesterday will stay with me for the rest of my life and I am so grateful that you do what you do because I was set up to do some pretty stupid things but after your talk I know now to make the right choices. So I just wanted to say thank you for changing my life. :)”

 

ReGeneration Trust

ReGeneration Trust have been keeping busy with a huge variety of projects and workshops promoting active citizenship, generosity, volunteering, social enterprise and innovation. 2012 saw a large number of inspiring short films created based on some incredible New Zealand-based changemakers. What all these people have in common is a sense of purpose and the intention to leave the world a richer place than they found it. The Changemakers Conventions continue to gather some of the best and brightest across New Zealand and inspiring the enormous variety of young Kiwis who attend.

We Love Trees

It’s not often you get to do something as small as sign up to a newsletter and by doing so, you bring a tree into the world. A click of a button and a tree gets planted. That’s just how we roll. At One Percent Collective, we want to encourage people to sign up to our newsletters so we can share all the great stuff we’re doing. So on a wonderfully sunny day last month, myself, Sez and Nicky took to the hills of the Kapiti Coast, North of Wellington, as part of the Whareroa Farm volunteering days. Our brief? For every new sign up we got to our newsletter, we would plant a tree or release a native plant from the strangling grip of weeds.

In just one week we had 49 new subscribers so we joined the Whareroa Gardens Community Trust crew and got to work on the mission. Between the three of us we released 75 plants in one day and had inspiring conversations (over tea and scones of course) with a seriously dedicated bunch of volunteers.

Thanks for your support! PAT

Sez Martin on whale rescue training

"I'm just off to save whales" I exclaimed as I whipped out the door of our flat. Bemused looks followed. After learning about the anatomy, evolution, life cycle and more of whales and dolphins, we were soon immersed in Island Bay's icy water, putting the theory into practise so that we could become a Project Jonah trained volunteer. We received a number of funny looks and photographs from the road as we "rescued" a life-sized replica of an orca and a dolphin and returned them to the water. I was surprised to learn that New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world with over 300 dolphins and whales being stranded on our shores every year. Strandings can occur for many reasons including navigational errors, sicknesses and injuries as well as trying to help a brother out and save one of their family or friends who has become stranded. Without human help, these whales die a slow and agonising death. This is why a cause like Project Jonah is so important – laying such a vital role in ensuring the continuing existence of these great sea mammals.

To learn more about Project Jonah or to donate your 1% to them, click here.

Images kindly provided by Jo Moore Photography.

Lydia Uddstrom on saving whales

Lydia Uddstrom is passionate about the marine kingdom. Currently living in Invercargill and working as a Dairy veterinarian at Vet4Farm Ltd she has always had a love of animals and whales and dolphins in particular. When Moko the friendly Mahia dolphin turned up she went straight to visit him. While there she met Kim Muncaster, CEO of Project Jonah, and the next thing Lydia knew she was happily attending a Project Jonah training day in Wellington. Three months after training as a Project Jonah Marine Mammal Medic she was called to her first whale stranding, which she describes as one of the most incredible experiences of her life.

 

How are you trained to become a marine mammal medic?

Marine mammal medics come from all walks of life and all the necessary training is given at the training days. The morning is spent in a classroom learning about basic marine mammal identification, anatomy, physiology and behaviour. You learn and see photos and video of whale ‘first aid’ and they prepare you as much as possible for what to expect at a stranding 

A lot of people find it a very emotional event so preparing people mentally is also important. After the morning session the afternoon is spent out at a beach practising what you have learnt on life-sized models (the models are so good they regularly get people running down the beach to help having mistaken the learning session for a real stranding). You also get trained in the use of pontoons to help refloat the whales, which is critical as you need trained people to use them effectively. Once you have completed the training you go on an area-based list for mobile text alerts. Kim is wonderful at always being available for contact if needed and some areas have active groups of volunteers who meet up on a regular basis to catch up and also help with fundraising. There are no tests involved however, it is recommended that you go to training days every couple of years to keep the knowledge fresh and get any updates in technique and understanding of why whales and dolphins strand.

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What are whales like up close?

Huge! I think one of the most amazing things was that they are such big animals yet they are so gentle and allow us to guide and direct them and seem to have some understanding that we are there to help. They have beautiful eyes. One of my favourite moments was during the 2011 stranding when one whale would roll over and open her eyes as we talked to her. Their skin is extremely delicate. There are lots of descriptions of what whales and dolphins feel like “wet rubber”. That goes some way to describing them but there is also silkiness to their skin, especially where it wrinkles as they move their heads. They have a huge range of sounds they make from clicks and whistles to what a friend described as ‘an R2D2 noise’. You had to take great care not to go near their tails especially when the tide was coming in as they would get excited and start lifting their tails up and down yet once they were able to swim again they were incredibly gentle if you happened to bump up against their tails they would just move them away. One of the things that really surprised me was the smell. They had a very distinctive smell, which clung to your skin. It is hard to describe it but it is a smell I will never forget. 

 

Have you always been an ocean person or a whale admirer?

I remember growing up and reading about Opo the friendly dolphin and wishing that she was still around so I could visit her. When Moko arrived it was like a dream come true. Seeing strandings on TV had always been absolutely devastating and something I wished I could help out with but until I started chatting to Kim I didn’t realise there was an organisation in New Zealand doing exactly that! It is something that a lot of people seem to wish they could help with and I love that Project Jonah trains people no matter what they do. You do not have to be a whale expert you just have to have a passion for them and a willingness to get out there and actually do something about helping them!

 

How could we all do more to help Project Jonah?

There is always a two-fold need for a charity like Project Jonah: one is for the public to know the organisation exists and the other is financial support. 

The more people that are aware of Project Jonah and either sign up to a training day or simply just know they can call them when they find a stranded animal is important. If we don’t know they are stranded then we cannot help them! They have also developed a 'World of Whales’ educational resource kit, which is free for teachers to access. 

Teaching our children to respect the ocean and the animals within it is critical for marine mammal survival. We need a generation of young people who genuinely care about the oceans or we are going to continue to destroy them. Our Maui dolphins for example are the most endangered species of dolphin in the world with approximately 55 left. It is a real disgrace in a country, which has prided itself in its ‘clean, green’ image.

The other key concern is funding. Responding to a stranding is expensive as is the maintenance of critical life-saving equipment. Project Jonah and DOC have set up whale rescue trailers in some of the worst stranding ‘hot spots’ but we are always in need of more. 

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Tell us about the feeling of helping at your first stranding.

It is so hard to describe the mix of emotions you experience at a stranding; each stranding is unique and different. The first stranding I attended was in 2011 in Golden Bay and was amazing as I got to experience the beauty of watching the pod which had split into three groups reunite. The water was just full of clicks and whistles and the whales were rubbing up against each other and swimming around on their sides and upside down having a big stretch after a night on the beach. The news got better as we heard that they had made it across the other side of the bay and sounded like they were swimming strongly. All the same, eight of us were asked to watch four different beaches until dark just in case they returned. The pod did return to the beach up from the one we were sitting at. Another volunteer, Chantal, and I jumped into our wetsuits and raced down to help whilst the people that spotted them had to go back to their car to change. Elation at them having done so well that morning and afternoon turned to despair as after an approximately 2km walk/run we reached the water’s edge and it became clear that at least a few of the pod were in trouble and had come aground. 

At that point I knew the horror of watching a pod coming into the beach and the thought of ‘what in the world can just two people do to stop them’? Almost immediately we made the decision that we should head out and at the very least try the impossible and see if the two of us could do anything to stop them while we waited for the other medics to arrive and help. We waded out and found one of the biggest whales stuck, surrounded by water but with his belly on the sand. I wrapped my arm about his dorsal fin while Chantal directed his head and with a lot of pushing we managed to get him moving again. We continued out to where more whales were struggling and I will never forget standing beside three whales as the rest of the pod swam past and around us. 

They are such enormous animals yet are so gentle and seem so careful around us. Suddenly the chaos and desperation ceased as we realised that the entire pod was moving again and heading in the right direction. At that point I realised I had cramp in both calf muscles and was exhausted from the effort of moving several 2+ tonnes whales back into deeper water. We turned around and saw that the other medics had finally made it the 2km down to the water’s edge just to see the pod heading back to sea. As we got about halfway back out of the water elation returned as everyone cheered and hugged in joy that again the pod had been saved. 

Kim had walked out from another beach and I will never forget the look on her face as she got to the water’s edge and asked where all the whales had gone. Such joy that we had managed to get them back off the beach. Her passion for all things marine related is contagious and her genuine care for the medics is a delight to see. 

It was a very nervous night and morning as we fully expected them to strand again but to our delight, come morning there were no more whales on the beach. We spotted them from a lookout point and were lucky enough to track them for the day with a telescope and watch as they hunted and got their bearings. That night they were seen for the last time at the base of the Spit before they headed back into open water.

TK Robb on Triathlon and Sustainable Coastlines

TK Robb on Triathlon and Sustainable Coastlines

Te Kawa Robb is a triathlete with a twin passion for the sport he does and the country he represents. In early 2010, Te Kawa gave up full-time work to pursue his sporting dreams while also studying Exercise Science full-time at University. Te Kawa became involved with Sustainable Coastlines because of his passion for the environment and his close affinity to the land and the sea, which is a bi-product of his Maori heritage and his childhood spent as close to rivers, lakes and beaches as possible. He now acts as an official ambassador for Sustainable Coastlines, working alongside them to spread local awareness about the need to use our natural resources more sustainably.

Joan Leung tells us about volunteering with RMTC

Joan Leung is passionate about psychology and working alongside individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. She’s currently studying her BAHons in Psychology at the University of Auckland and hopes to study a Masters degree in the Neuropsychology of Autism. She moved from Hong Kong to New Zealand over four years ago and became involved with Raukatauri Music Therapy Centre (RMTC) through a family friend. Joan has a bent for volunteering; having helped disabled orphans in Xining, Mainland China and children in Costa Rica during her travels. RMTC helps children and young people with a wide range of special needs, including those needing support with physical, intellectual, developmental, behavioural and emotional issues. It is New Zealand’s only music therapy centre and Joan has been volunteering with them since the beginning of 2009.

 

What prompted you to volunteer for RMTC?

Having only recently arrived in New Zealand I was on the lookout for things I could get involved in to fill up the huge amount of free time I had during my first year of university. I initially heard about RMTC through a family friend who had just read an article about the Centre in passing. Knowing a bit about my background and how much I enjoy playing music, she suggested that I give this place a second look. To be honest, it was mostly curiosity that drew me towards RMTC. I had no idea what music therapy was until I got involved here. My appreciation for this approach has only increased.

 

How can music be used to help people at RMTC? 

Music helps children with intellectual and physical disabilities communicate in the absence of words. In the cases where talking or understanding speech is not a feasible option, it is important to keep in mind that there are many other ways to teach basic skills that can help them cope in a social environment. Music, which includes the simple act of creating a rhythm, is easy to master and attention-grabbing. By engaging in the process of ‘making music’ with the therapist, children are able to grasp the concept of things like sharing, taking turns, reciprocating meaningful gestures and forming relationships. I think one of the reasons behind RMTC’s success is that the therapists offer music-making experiences of exceptional quality that not many people can match.

 

What drives your passion for volunteering and working with people who have disabilities?

My parents never cease to remind me that life is really quite simple and that everything eventually boils down to health and happiness. I guess the fact that I have both factors makes me appreciate them and also acknowledge that not everyone turns out so lucky. This drives me to use the best of my abilities to work alongside those who start off at a disadvantage. These people are in no way responsible for the condition in which they were born and yet are expected to live with the consequences. The fact that people with disabilities are still present in our population somewhat reflects the inherent goodness of human nature. If it was otherwise, only the physically and mentally strongest individuals would have survived the process of evolution. I believe that using one’s strengths to help another go through life with relatively less complications is goodness in its purest form.

 

Who inspires you?

People who launch into a job, taking on all its related responsibilities, just for the love of it. People who choose to help and provide a service for others without first considering how much they will get paid for it or whether it will gain them public recognition. Selfless people.

 

Describe for us one of your most memorable RMTC experiences.

One of the best experiences I have had so far falls on RMTC’s most recent Open Day. Hearing the music therapists give talks about their own sessions and the progress that the kids are making as a result of coming to the Centre; as well as seeing crowds of supporting parents, children, teachers and local people arrive at the door; makes me reflect on how happy I am to be given the opportunity to be involved in the organisation and running of such a special place.

 

Why do you believe in the work that RMTC do?

I believe in what I can see. And what I see are children who show significant improvements in their behaviours, confidence, trust and relationships after having music therapy at RMTC. I also see a team of people at the Centre who give these children everything they’ve got on a daily basis to ensure there is more than enough support in order for development to occur. The amount of effort the staff at RMTC put into providing such a unique service deserves to have the encouragement of everyone behind them.

 

What does volunteering mean to you?

Volunteering is really a way for me to exercise my passion for working with and helping people without a qualification. It keeps me busy and involved while I go through the laborious process of studying to eventually be able to serve others on a professional level. Volunteering keeps me in touch with what goes on outside the University lecture halls. It actually helps me grasp what I am learning more easily because I am able to apply the theories to what I can see and experience while taking time away from the textbooks.

 

What more can be done to support RMTC?

Run a fundraising event – be creative and come up with an idea to raise funds for RMTC. Car cleaning, bake days, mufti days and entering marathons and other sports events are just some of the ways supporters help raise funds via fundraising events. Either give RMTC a call or email with your event idea and they will help you with promotional material and advertise events on their website.

Steve Boyd on working with Amped4Life

Steve Boyd on working with Amped4Life

Steve Boyd is one of those wonderful teachers who lives and breathes the work he does. He is the Assistant Principal at Aorere College where is in charge of Pastoral Care, Discipline and Student Management. Born and raised in Papatoetoe, Steve comes from a teaching background, growing up in Papatoetoe as a young man but  traveling each day to attend Howick College where his mother was Head of PE. He started his teaching career at James Cook High School in Manurewa and has been with Aorere for just over seven years. Steve became aware of the  Amped4Life programme about four years ago at the Papatoetoe West Rotary Club where Pat Buckley was presenting. Steve believes that Pat Buckley's message is vitally important and reaches students in ways that other education and awareness programmes often don't.

James Bushell on Little Lotus Project

James Bushell is a man of many talents and has the unique ability to employ them in both the business and charity sectors to great success. After studying psychology at Otago University, James turned his capable hands to building companies including Colonial Limited, a vineyard in Blenheim which grows grapes for other wineries, Bedrock Limited, a development property, which was converted from a motel into seasonal worker accommodation and Bushell Consultants Limited which is his consultation vehicle for companies that need help. He's also responsible for starting a free educational programme in Thailand catering to over 200 children, speaks fluent Thai, volunteered with an elephant sanctuary near Bangkok and was a crew member for the 2011 Spinning Top Little Lotus Project. He's currently working on the launch of a social media start-up called POPin.

 

How did you get involved with the Spinning Top Little Lotus project?

I had been living and working in Thailand for several years when I heard my friend Pat was involved in a charity on the Thai/Burma border. I had previously established a free education programme in Thailand so was naturally curious about the work of Spinning Top Little Lotus. I decided to travel through the night to meet with Pat and his team in Mae Sot. I was impressed by their vision and work and have been involved ever since.

 

Tell us about SpinningTop?

SpinningTop brings vibrancy and creativity to charity work by the unconventional means of art and music. It is this unorthodox approach, which really appeals to me. Of equal importance is that this method does not dictate the type of work they do. SpinningTop plays an important role in the community, connecting with local communities and schools to find what will best improve the quality of life for those involved. They have supported many grassroots initiatives such as the knowledge sharing and agricultural programmes, which are led by Burmese groups.

 

What is it like on the Thai/Burmese border?

Hot! In some areas people live in shanty huts made from rubbish scraps. On the same road you may see huge houses, demonstrating the level of disparity all around. The people are very humble, kind, and extremely generous. I spent time visiting a local hospital and saw landmine victims in need of prosthetic limbs – this brought home the reality of how different my life is from theirs. We live in a country where we have so much freedom, to speak, paint, and to express ourselves, whereas in Burma they have to fight for this.

 

What advice can you give other charities or groups trying to work in that region?

My advice would be not to go in thinking you have the solutions. One needs to earn trust, build relationships, and deal with local needs. Many people believe that just ‘giving’ is enough to make a change. This can have detrimental effects on these micro communities. I would recommend understanding their culture and working with (not for) the communities to bring about positive change.

 

What did you learn about yourself during this project?

I rethought my ideologies of happiness. This experience gave me greater perspective of what is really important to me. It was also really inspiring just being around a great bunch of people who are incredibly talented and creative.

 

Do you have any future volunteering projects in the pipeline?

I have an on-going relationship with SpinningTop and I am helping prepare for the art exhibition in October 2012. We will display the skills of artists all over the world, inspired by the children in the Mae Sot community from our last visit. It will be held at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery and I’m really excited about it. It will include live art demonstrations, music, and New Zealand school children sharing their ideas and artworks. The whole event is going to be a lot of fun.

 

Describe how you see business philosophy and charity work merging?

I think there is a lot of potential in this area. Given the right tools and support I believe that many successful businesses can be created. This is a great way of initiating self-sustaining projects. It will also provide local employment and inject money back into local communities. The process would need to be approached carefully as to avoid abuse and ensure the best outcomes for local communities and groups involved.