Ruby | Māngere

“I’d like to share about teenagers that leave home, running around, trouble and come across us, we help them out, let them know there are options for them, instead of running around here and drinking or sniffing petrol. There is an option to go back to the mainstream.

We also have social workers here to help them out, and for them to guide them back to the mainstream. That’s what I’m comfortable with. I also help them out to remember they are not alone, and there’s a future there for them.

I sometimes come across, there’s some places around here, there’s um, like laundromats that are open 24 hours, and when I see teenagers slept on those places, I ask them, I introduce them myself. I tell them, why are they sleeping over in these places, don’t they have parents?  And, I tell them how lucky they are, there’s an option here that they can go. And, I also tell them, like what I said, mentioned it before, there’s a social worker, there’s a teacher, there’s me for instance, if they also need help, food. We, I know um, people that they can help them to get a shelter, ah and go back to the mainstream.

I was born in Tonga, came to New Zealand as a teenager. I always enhance learning. I love to study. I was studying social services at Unitec. I also still study at the moment, and working. I thought how about I become a security. I’m volunteering to patrol around the community here in South Auckland, and help out. It’s my way of giving back to the community, to be safe. Friends, family and I felt that I owe that back to the community, because they help me, I help them back, by patrolling. So, when I see a lot of trouble around here, I work as a security. So, it makes me feel good to help out.”

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