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Volunteer Story - Louisa Roe Rotorua

 

A day visit to a nearby beach, fish and chip meals, surprise desserts and DIY craft sessions are just some of the events the Rotorua Kids Club Coordinator, Louisa Roe, organises.

Louisa joined CNZ and started the Kids Club after both of her twins were diagnosed within 3 months of each other at nearly 6 years old. Now five years on from that, Louisa says the Kid’s Club is going really well and the children seem to be getting a lot out of it.

“It’s so great to see all the kids getting along so well. Because their ages range from 5 to 11 years, it’s fantastic to see that they all seem to really enjoy their time together” she says.

Louisa says organising the different events and activities has not been as hard as some might think. She organises 3-4 events a year, and they are regularly attended by a handful of families, plus others that come occasionally. She says the most encouraging thing is when you find a café or restaurant that are willing to listen and make an effort to make sure your group has an enjoyable time – of which she has found a couple. Louisa says she organised a group trip to Ohope beach at the beginning of the year, followed by a meal at a local café. She called up before hand and organised with the chef to provide a safe gluten free meal for the group, and they were happy to do so.

“It’s actually overwhelming when you find people that are willing to go the extra mile for you and your children, just to ensure you can enjoy a meal together. Nadia from Abracadabra Café has been especially brilliant. She came out and spoke to the kids about food, and then brought out a special surprise dessert - an ice cream sandwich - for each child, and the looks on their faces was just priceless”.

Developing Kids Clubs across more regions and offering more support and ideas is part of CNZ’s focus for the next year. Our aim will be to create a network of people and places for not only families with young children, but also teens and young adults to support each other, receive information that is relevant, to share ideas, stories and experiences, and to just have some fun. Louisa suggests the best way to decide if you want to become a coordinator, is to talk to other nearby coordinators and then just go for it.

“Just do it - get yourself involved! It can be as easy or as hard as you make it, and you’re only limited by your imagination. What motivated me to do more was seeing the benefit that my family was gaining from getting together with just one other family, so I started to imagine spreading that to numerous other families, and that’s what I want to continue doing.”

 

We are looking to set up more kids clubs around NZ. This is a rewarding and greatly beneficial role, so if you are interested in starting or helping a Kids Club in your area, please get in touch with Jean Tang via: marketing@coeliac.org.nz or 09 414 7467.