Get Smart Tauranga
Get Smart Drug and Alcohol Services is a Tauranga agency that offers counselling and support for young people up to age 25. They act mainly as the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.
However, a phone call seven years ago from a Social Worker in Schools (SWiS) opened Get Smart up to a preventative focus, as well.
The deputy principal of a local primary school had referred a group of 5 to 11-year old girls to the SWiS after they were found smoking at school. It was a serious situation, since these young girls were smoking with their mums as peers. After an investigation, Get Smart learned that for some of the young people involved, this behavior represented a generational trend. The children, their caregivers, their grandparents and in some cases, their great grandparents, had never gained the knowledge or life skills to pass on to the next generation. For this group, the solo mothers were raising their children in survival mode, simply getting by day to day in the best way they knew how. This damaging cycle needed to be broken, and it was clear that there was an unmet need for a positive, therapeutic, early intervention program for these types of girls and their whānau.
The Get Smart Skills for Life program was created in response to this critical issue. Beginning initially as a 7-week program for six 9 to 11-year old students, it has now expanded to a year-long programme that provides wrap-around intervention for the whole whānau as needed. Skills for Life aims to empower, strengthen and inspire both the participants and their whānau with the tools needed to do life--and family--in a much better and supported way.
In 2018, Get Smart began a collaborative partnership with Parenting Place. This relationship means that they have a New Zealand-wide network to support them, their participants, and their whānau, as they expand the Skills for Life programme throughout low decile schools in the Bay of Plenty.
This year’s Get Smart Drug and Alcohol Services grant was provided by the J Chappell-Mathias and Tauranga Police CIB Charitable Trust Funds.