11 September, 2021
From a young age, Eden loved attending school. Although shy, she thrived in a school environment. For her, it was an escape from home.
At home, Eden was exposed to alcoholism and addiction of family members. Her mother and father were unable to take care of her and she was raised by her grandparents.
“Life was a disaster, facing heaps of struggles with family crisis and drama, not having a mother or father around,” Eden shared while reflecting on her childhood.
In 2017, when Eden was only 14, her grandmother passed away. She was overwhelmed with grief as her grandmother had been such a strong and positive influence in her life.
Although she had loved attending school as a child, Eden struggled to focus in class after experiencing such a large loss. She stopped attending school for the year and when she tried to return the following year, she struggled to concentrate. Feeling helpless, she made the difficult decision to leave school.
At this time, Eden was also attending Tahi Whanau (meaning ‘One Family’), a youth mentoring program supported by ADRA. This program helps young people by providing a supportive environment where they can develop life skills.
Despite not being in school, Eden found her sense of purpose through Tahi Whanau.
Through this youth mentoring program, Eden gained confidence and leadership skills, and is now a mentor for other young people who enter the program.
“Tahi Whanau has made a big impact in my life,” says Eden. “It has turned my life around and provided me with positive people… it’s even made a difference in my own family.”
Now Eden is a full-time carer for her grandfather and continues to mentor other young people.
ADRA funds projects like Tahi Whanau throughout New Zealand to help kiwis overcome hardship. Learn more at www.adra.org.nz/ctp