15 June

Sunday 15 June, 7.00pm

The people of Wellington muck in to give Jacinta Krefft her dream garden.

Many people wouldn’t want a bar of ‘problem children’ with poor social skills, low academic results, or a history of petty theft; and they wouldn’t know how to deal with children with depression, ADHD and/or abusive backgrounds.
This week’s Mucking In recipient Jacinta Krefft, however, relishes every opportunity that she has to help such children in her role as co-ordinator for Challenge for Change, a programme which takes nine to 13-year-old children and pairs them with adult mentors.

In this role, Krefft works well above and beyond the standard 40-hour week to be there for these kids and their families at any time of the day or night. Krefft’s colleague and nominator, Rod Baxter, explains how she has changed the lives of her mentors and the children she cares for. “Mentors join the programme because they hear through word of mouth about Jacinta and her ability to extend and challenge people.”

People love her. In fact, Mucking In has over 30 names of people, including the Mayor of Wellington, who are willing to back up Baxter’s nomination!

It’s not only her work for local youth that sets Krefft apart. She has also worked on a volunteer programme for refugees in Wellington and has worked with youth in Russia, America and Samoa prior to coming back to New Zealand. She is very culturally aware and incorporates her knowledge of different cultures and languages into her work with people from other ethnicities.

Krefft also voluntarily wrote a book last year, which a few hundred young people and their mentors have already used as part of the Challenge for Change programme.

Daughter Ailsa Krefft is delighted that her mother is being rewarded for her years of selfless work. “She was a social worker in her youth, a volunteer with Volunteer Service Abroad in Samoa, a teacher and now a counsellor, friend and mentor herself. She has always been so humble about what she gives to all those around her and inspires them all, definitely including myself, to do the same.”

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