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Totara Hospice South Auckland Youth Ambassador Programme


On July 26, four Sancta Maria students (Katrina Chan, Nathalie Tolentino, Tahlisa Stevens, and Mia Gilchrist) attended the ‘Totara Hospice Careers Day for School.’ The day consisted of many motivational speakers, talking to a room filled with 88 students from different schools around South Auckland and South-East Auckland (such as Edgewater College, Manurewa High School, and The Gardens school).

The Totara Hospice South Auckland Youth Ambassador Programme provided Years 7-13 students with an opportunity to develop life-enhancing skills in which students can give back to the community, and learn more about palliative care. They learned what the service does and the role it plays in our community through 13 influential speakers. The group heard from Tina McCaffery – the chief executive of Totara Hospice, Aron Pulemagafa – the spiritual care advisor at Totara Hospice, Josie, and Isaac – the owners/operators of One More Rep Fitness (Personal Trainers), Dr. Will Evans – Palliative Care Registrar at ADHB, as well as many other people. One of the speakers, Dr. Kathy Peri – the director of nursing at Totara Hospice and Senior Lecturer, faculty of medical and health sciences Auckland University, showed the children different medical equipment used in her everyday life. She also showed the group a robotic polar bear that provides people in palliative care with comfort and company. All of these speakers emphasised how we, as youth, are the future leaders of our society and are the decision makers. They spoke of how by doing what you love and enjoy, always listening to others, participating actively in the community and through volunteering and taking opportunities you will achieve your goals.

The day made the students consider what career path and role they wanted to do after school due to hearing and listening to other people’s career stories. The day also provided an “Inspirational and professional outlet for youth in a positive, safe, and friendly environment.”

Totara Hospice hosted all 88 students with a yummy morning tea of sausage sizzle, lunch with pizza, and an afternoon tea of ice blocks, biscuits, and fruit. One of the students who attended this youth day said, “It was an inspirational day allowing you to think about your future.” Another student described the day, “The day has been very informative, and it was eye-opening to hear perspectives from an entire spectrum of people with varying careers. They all had something new to contribute and offered valuable advice they picked up on the way to getting where they are today. We are all very grateful for the opportunity Totara Hospice has gifted us.”

Mia Gilchrist