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  • Paul Whatuira's Story of Courage and Hope     29 July 2010
    Posted by: Skylight

    gI hit rock bottom. Things that were in the past, when I was a kid, came back.h There are many stories of children and young people not getting support through tough times and having problems later in life, such as drug and alcohol abuse, anger issues, difficult relationships or mental health illnesses. Here is just one story. In October last year, Paul Whatuira, a successful 28 year-old Huddersfield Giants league player (and former Kiwi League International), was awaiting the birth of his first child. Instead of an exciting and happy time, Paul was on the verge of a breakdown. Impending fatherhood triggered suppressed memories of abuse inflicted on him as six year-old by a person outside his family. It was a dark secret that remained untold to that day ? secret even to his family. Suffering severe insomnia and depression, he admitted himself to a mental health hospital. But in the early hours of 13 October, he checked himself out. gI sat under a tree and thought about those things. I was on the brinkc for some reason I got up and started running.h That fateful run ended in Paul assaulting two innocent passers-by. gI had no control over myself.h Police arrested Paul and placed him in a secure psychiatric hospital. Suddenly, one of New Zealandfs most successful league players found himself in a very vulnerable position. Paulfs parents, his fianc?e, his friends and fellow players offered support while he recovered. Paulfs story is that of any ordinary Kiwi kid, and also an extraordinary one. Brought up in Wainuiomata, he was the middle of three children. With his abuse as a six year-old hidden, Paul struggled at primary school, but managed to get through. He found a release in sports of all kinds. He started playing rugby league at seven, and took up boxing at nine, and also played basketball, rugby, touch rugby and softball as he got older. Then, aged 16, Paul made a decision: gI was going to be a professional league player. I believed it too. So I stopped going to parties c and started hanging with people who were positive influences in my life.h Things started happening ? making rep sides, Junior Kiwis and then his first professional contract with the New Zealand Warriors. This was in 2000, and the rest, as they say, is history. Two hundred first grade games and over 70 tries later, Paul can reflect on his success on the field. gWithout rugby league when I was growing up, I probably wouldnft be here now.h But the ghere nowh has also involved a painful reach into the past to confront the suppressed abuse, his dark secret of 22 years.And now, Paul says, gI want it out there; I want my story to help othersc and the way to go about that is to tell it right and real.h Paulfs story continues and he has much to celebrate. As well as his on-field form this year, he welcomed the arrival of daughter Gabrielle in January and has the up-coming wedding to his partner of three years, Venessa, in October of this year. Paul is also Skylight's Ambassador, as he can clearly see the benefit of effective help and support being offered to vulnerable children and young people before their problems escalate and spin out of control as his did. If you can see that benefit, like Paul can, please make a donation to help children and young people through tough times. Please help prevent them having problems later on in life ? problems perhaps similar to Paulfs. Your financial gift will help provide the kind of specialist help and hope through Skylightfs range of programmes, including innovative resources, helpful support information, important education and training programmes, a school-based youth resilience programme Travellers, as well as providing effective counselling and counselling groups around the Wellington region. Your support means so much to us at Skylight, as well as to Paul. He wishes hefd had our support when he needed it the most ? and importantly to those who need it the most now.

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  • Ideas for Tough Times - One day at a time     13 September 2009
    Posted by: Skylight

    Kiwi kids talking about getting through tough times

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  • Supporting Teens Through Tough Times     13 September 2009
    Posted by: Skylight

    SUPPORTING TEENS THROUGH TOUGH TIMES Skylight has launched an innovative new single edition youth support magazine, eThe Journey Throughf, which honestly and frankly tackles the very difficult issues teens and young people face. Itfs been written specifically for young people in New Zealand, and features many stories, words and photos, kiwi teens have contributed. Life can be really tough. The issues teenagers face are diverse and include changing schools, moving to a new city or country, losing your friends, bullying, parents breaking up, living in a blended family or absent parents, peer pressure, terminal illness or death of someone close to them, mental health issue, disability and too often trauma, abuse or violence. Skylight, a unique support organisation helping young people and their families/whanau deal with change, loss, trauma and grief, recognises that young people, in particular, can be significantly affected by such issues. Skylight Acting Chief Executive and author of eThe Journey Throughf, Tricia Hendry says, gIt is crucial that young people get support they can relate to, to help them get through the really rough times. gResearch shows that providing support now reduces problems later on in life including relationship difficulties, mental health issues such as depression, drug and alcohol abuse or other eat riskf behaviour.h eThe Journey Throughf, a colourful, image-rich resource, helps readers understand, process and manage their tough experiences. It features quotes, writing and true stories from young people in New Zealand. True stories like Jadefs. At age 17 she was pregnant, stunned and terrified. On top of her familyfs expectations and then disappointment, she was really worried about the enormous responsibility of looking after another human life ? her own child. It all made her feel like the whole situation was too hard to bear. Jade says gIfve learned that when things seem to be too hard, we need to take it step by step and often there will be breathers in between.h Or how about Meg ? whofs father died when she was 10. She remembers that period of grieving as darkness. She felt lost and confused. gI didnft really understand what was happening. No one talked about death. One day we had a father and the next day we didnft.h With plentiful explanations of what grief is, how they might react and express themselves, suggestions for managing through tough times and how to get help, this resource encourages readers to choose what ideas suit them best. It has strong personal safety messages that will give young people practical support and reassurance. gSkylight wants to give our young people hope and a beacon of light to get through the often dark times of grief,h says Hendry. Along with the print version, Skylight has produced a series of eight online video clips of Kiwi young people talking about how they have dealt with their tough times. gFor example, taking it gOne day at a timeh is an important message for our young people here in New Zealand,h says Hendry. gThe series represent truly Kiwi voices, and young people who are looking for support online will be able to access the video clips on Skylightfs website, You Tube, Facebook and other online sites.h To view the series of video clips for getting through tough times go to: Young peoplefs pages on"" Skylightfs website""Skylight NZ You Tube page view the video uploaded on our Givealittle page eThe Journey Throughf is available to order online at"" or by contacting Skylight on 0800 299 100 or email to""

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  • Skylight's New Resource     23 July 2009
    Posted by: Skylight

    gClaire and her brother Jack sit closely together, with their hands over their ears, in the back bedroom. Anything to get away from the noise of their parents fighting again. The next day they find their Dad has to move away from their house, and isnft allowed to see them for a while. Mum talks about the court and a protection order. They donft know what that means. They want to know how come they canft see their Dad."" Skylightfs new childrenfs booklet gWhatfs a protection order?h was officially launched by Judge Boshier, The Principal Family Court Judge of New Zealand, at?a National Child Advocates Hui in Wellington. gWhatfs a protection order?h is for children age 7-12 who have witnessed or experienced family violence and gives them a clear understanding of the ewhatf and the ewhyf, in simple, easy to understand language. Bice Awan, Skylight's Chief Executive says gHaving an honest and straight talking resource that can be used to help inform and reassure children is invaluable. It is important for children to understand what a protection order is, what it means and itfs vital they know what to do to keep themselves safe.h gWhatfs a protection order?h is engaging for young readers and has strong personal safety messages including a Safety Plan. Just like Claire and Jack who are typical examples of the many children affected by family violence situations, a protection order often dictates major changes in childrenfs lives. Ministry of Justice statistics for 2007 show that 3249 children were involved in the 2206 granted protection orders. ""Skylight works to create families and whanau environments that allow children ? young children, in particular ? to thrive,h says Bice Awan. gFamily violence is a sad reality in New Zealand. Yet, we try to provide some light through the darkest of times - a beacon of hope."" To ensure the resourcesf value in real life situations, the author Tricia Hendry, Skylightfs Resource and Information Manager, sought comment and feedback from a variety of professionals working on reducing family violence including Ministry of Justice, Jigsaw, Wellington Womenfs Refuge, Itfs Not Okay campaign team at Ministry for Social Development as well as Child Advocates. The booklet was also eroad testedf with children in Skylightfs gAlong The Trackh ? a programme for children who witness or experience family violence. It also includes the latest information in upcoming law change allowing the Police to give protection orders on the spot for up to five days. gWhatfs a protection order?h is useful for parents, families/ whanau and for any agencies working to reduce family violence. It will be available for a small cost through Skylightfs website"" or by calling 0800 299 100. The artwork was done by a young illustrator, and the graphics by a young designer. Published by Skylight July 2009 A 20 page, A5 full colour, illustrated booklet. Please go to"" to see more about this new resource - orders can be made online.

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  • Skylight's first Givealittle update     14 July 2009
    Posted by: Skylight

    Welcome and hello. Haere mai! It is nice to be able to find a spare moment to really start utilising this Givealittle site! Skylight has a number of resources that are due to be launched in the upcoming months - including a?resource for children who are witnessing or experiencing domestic violence explaining what a protection order is. Another one is for teens to help them deal with any kind of tough times in their life. Plus we have developed booklets for children on a variety of topics that concern them the most. So keep a look out for these listed here and on our website"" In the meantime check out?our comprehensive?range of resources on all types of grief, loss, trauma and change - there's something there?for any tough times people are facing.? Speaking of tough times - check out the interview of Skylight's own Tricia Irving-Hendry on 'Nine To Noon' with Kathryn Ryan on Thursday July 9, 2009. She talks candidly about suicide in New Zealand. Go to"" and put Tricia's name in the search bar. So what else?is next for Skylight? The 'New?York, New York Ball' of course. Thanks to Matt McLaughlin and partners at the Four Kings, Skylight is the selected charity to receive the benefits from a formal and glamourous ball in a New York style! Sponsored by Stella Artois and thanks to the New Zealand Community Trust this wonderful evening will feature The Peter Urlich Swinging Sextet, and you'll enjoy dining and dancing in a ritzy New York atmosphere. Date: Saturday August 15 2009 Tickets: $120 with $20 from each ticket donated to Skylight Venue: Four Kings, corner Taranaki and Dixon Street, Wellington Dress: Formal Reception: 6pm For reservations and bookings phone Matt on (04) 384 1910 or email to""> For further details visit""> for keeping in touch with Skylight. Please feel free to contact me, Sonja Deely, at Skylight if you have any questions on 04 939 8578

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