Pathway Reintegration Manager Anaru Baynes talks to us about how Christmas can be a challenging time, not only for our Tū Ora inside the wire, but also for those who are rebuilding their lives back in the community.
"It is a time that we need to ensure our Tū Ora feel special, loved and supported, to empower them to continue to reach for the best life they can."
- Pathway Reintegration Manager Anaru Baynes
Christmas in prison is a difficult time, but Christmas back in the community can be even harder.
For many, it can be a time of stress, pressure and expectations at the same time as they might be struggling financially and emotionally. For our Tu Ora, it can also be a time that triggers the memory bank of childhood trauma.
Emotions are often drivers of poor decisions, which can make it a time of increased risk of drug and alcohol abuse and a lot of their usual support networks are unavailable due to the holiday period.
This year there is the added complexity of Covid and, at a time when we’re wanting to foster the natural dynamics of community by going to events and traveling to loved ones, that has been taken away.
At its heart, the Navigate Initiative (NI) is about strengthening community connection and enabling the community to play a more central role in reducing serious crime and violence. Right now, it is more important than ever to have our community play a role within that space. While the NI is doing that in a very strategic way and this is proving highly successful, what we’re doing is only at the very edge of what is possible when the community takes ownership of a community problem.
The government agencies that are currently positioned as central in keeping the community safe (Police and Corrections) are expected to be social workers, mental health workers, domestic dispute mediators and more. But the community too has an active role to play when it comes to keeping ourselves and others safe. Sometimes, just reaching out to someone who’s struggling can make the world of difference.
Pathway is able to facilitate that and, at this time of the year, our work really comes to the fore. It is a time that we need to ensure our Tū Ora feel special, loved and supported, to empower them to continue to reach for the best life they can and to continue making the decisions that will give them that.