Regional coordinators Breanna Turner from Central Lakes and Suzie Haynes from Coastal Bay of Plenty regularly connect with families who have the extra challenges of caring for children with a disability or health impairment and recognise the importance of parents having some respite from their every day lives.
Breanna and Suzie reached out to over 1000 people asking if they would like to nominate a deserving parent or carer for a getaway weekend and describe why they deserved to be chosen. A selection committee considered all nominees and based on who had the greatest need, hand-picked 20 parents from Coastal Bay of Plenty and 10 parents from Central Lakes.
One nominator said:
‘A’ is a solo mum to two amazing children who both have additional needs. ‘B’ has autism and is non-verbal. He requires a lot more input than your average child. ‘C’ has ADHD and social anxiety and again requires extra effort from ‘A’ to support her to engage with others and attend activities.
“On top of looking after her children, ‘A’ works full time for various businesses doing their accounts. ‘A’ works this around the needs of her children which means she is often working late into the evening. I never hear her complain that life is difficult. She always has a positive outlook. It would be wonderful to give ‘A’ the opportunity to have some well deserved ‘ME’ time which she is severely lacking.
The Awesome Dads went on a fishing trip with Deep Star Charters and Blo Karting with Blokarts New Zealand while the Magic Mums were pampered with massages, pedicures, manicures and eyelash tinting. An opportunity to get crafty was offered and the mums could chose to learn how to make sushi or create their own jewellery. A health and wellness speaker was invited to chat with the mums to discuss self-care which is too often overlooked especially by busy parents. The mums and dads evenings were spent at a restaurant in Papamoa where they could eat delicious food that wasn’t cooked by themselves, be waited on and enjoy each others company.
The mums and dads were grateful for not only the multitude of activities, but the chance to connect with like minded people who share similar difficulties and manage their struggles with strength and determination. For carers who do not always have the luxury to take a moment for themselves, the Awesome Dads and the Magic Mums weekend retreats were priceless. Experiences were shared, laughs were constant and the ‘mental health’ break was exactly what the doctor ordered.
Thank you to Breanna and Suzie for all their efforts and also to our sponsor Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust for making all the memories made possible.
Mums feeling rejuvenated after a relaxing weekend.