She says a lot of families in the community are struggling, including youth, young families and grandparents raising mokopuna. They want access to Healthy Homes assessments, help finding employment, and support dealing with WINZ.
“We create a whānau plan and set goals. I then navigate our whānau to organisations which will benefit them and support them along their pathway.
“A lot of whānau are too shy to approach WINZ for various reasons, so I help them build that relationship. They need assistance with their children’s necessities, such as school uniforms and clothing, and travel costs for those who go to schools in Rotorua. In some cases, WINZ is their only option so I help them with their confidence to go in there.”
Paulla says the changes in the whānau are almost immediate once they develop their Whānau Ora plan.
“I’ve had a few come in really stressed, and you can feel their desperation. They’ve had doors closed on them everywhere and had nowhere else to go. We create a plan for them by identifying where they are currently, and then setting goals on where they want to be in the future.
“There are a lot of surface issues to be addressed before they can start looking at future vision. For most, their vision is just to be happy, which I find really sad. So, we focus on that and try to ease the burden they’re carrying. We go through the short-term vision, and then set the long-term vision. It’s hard because we haven’t got many resources in our community, but we do our best.
“They start getting motivated, and once they start achieving their goals, they become empowered. I love seeing that. A lot of my whānau have done full turnarounds from when they first walked in the door. They’re smiling and happy now, and we are still working, always working, to achieve their goals.”