By Josie Laird
How do we know what support services are available in our area? For families with a member addicted to P, once we have passed the point of denial and shame we want to get help. But the range of services can be confusing and often each organisation is working in isolation.
That was the genesis of the Tuwhera (Open Door) Whanau Support Group’s Expo, held in Waiuku on Friday 24 November. A crowd of nearly 100 turned up to share information and stories.
The War Memorial Hall was buzzing with connections between groups. Sheryl Taapiki proved an energetic MC, assisted by Ray Carter-Sellwood. Each of the 23 groups represented gave a short spiel on what they did, and it was interesting to see others making a beeline to that stall afterwards, as further networks were formed.
People who had only ever met by phone or email finally got to meet and reinforce their unity. Ideas were shared, recommendations were made. The sense of community could be tasted. Everyone was welcomed, especially by Glenys Taupo, whose warm heart shone through her face. This expo showed how community groups are taking the problem back and finding their own answers.
At a seminar following the Expo, Peter Thorburn gave an impassioned talk about addiction and what it means for users. Peter’s talk concluded with discussing why people even start using P. He has found that children of eight and nine still have positive dreams for their future, while children of ten to twelve are starting to lose hope. We need to keep those dreams alive, so that our young people have something worth living for.
If you’re worried about someone in your family, contact Tuwhera Whanau Support Group members on firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rose at 021 0249 9666.