Making contacts

Junior Neighbourhood Support leaders Brianna Reid (12, left) and Baily Cavanagh-Welch (12) hold a pack and a record book. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Junior Neighbourhood Support leaders Brianna Reid (12, left) and Baily Cavanagh-Welch (12) hold a pack and a record book. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Green Island School pupils are among 700 in Dunedin connecting with their communities through a programme run by Neighbourhood Support.

The non-profit organisation promotes the building of connections within neighbourhoods to create safer communities.

Pupils from Green Island School, Carisbrook School, Kaikorai School and Bathgate Park School were taking part in Junior Neighbourhood Support this year.

Pupils have been working towards ''Community safe badges'' since the start of June, which can be earned when they fulfil tasks and amass enough points.

Neighbourhood Support's Lower South Island co-ordinator Kim Romeril said the programme was an accessible option for all children.

''It's something tangible all students can work towards over a period of time.''

To earn a badge, children needed to demonstrate examples of being responsible and taking the initiative to help others at school, home and in the community, Ms Romeril said.

Acts like baking muffins for a local firefighter, donating used-clothes to charity, and completing a bike safety course at school would all demonstrate being a responsible member of the community, she said.

''The programme helps students to be aware of the physicality of life, the fact they have to rely on each other, and rely on their physical community to become mature people.''

Social media networks fall short in providing real-life support, she said.

''You can't underestimate the value of physical networks in a community.

''It's what we build our lives on,'' Ms Romeril said.

- Robert Steven

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