Meet our dedicated caregiver, Joe

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23 November 2020

Joe Ruri is part of our Specialist Caregiver Programme in Auckland and has been with Youth Horizons | Kia Puāwai for almost 13 years.

What made you decide to become a caregiver?

Caregiving was my way of helping our younger generation. I realised that I would be more effective in helping one young person who lives with me rather than many who don’t. I wanted to give them a better chance at a brighter future.

On a typical day, what sort of activities do you do with the young person in your care?

I manage routines, appointments, tasks and try to make everything as natural as possible. Simple routines like fixing your bed, personal hygiene and preparing for your day are things that most of us take for granted. But these are skills the young person is learning every day. A typical school day allows me to catch up with the young person and go over his day while driving him to school. After school, he has plenty of time to do fun activities, and I often hang out with him while he does them. I incorporate normal childhood activities into the expectations of the programme.

What keeps you going when things are getting tough?

The thought in my head is I still need to try and help our children; I still have something good to offer. I am also reminded of the work my wonderful colleagues do every day. I rise up and feel restored to persevere because our young people need us to push for them.

What is the best thing about being a caregiver?

The opportunity to positively change someone’s life in an amazing way that only a few people can do. Being a caregiver changes the life of a young person, but also adds to your own personal character and benefits society as a whole.

What has it been like learning and implementing the TFM model with your young person?

In terms of workload, it’s definitely a step up. Constant verbal communication is a highlight of the programme, with effective praise at its forefront. The young person is encouraged to assess themselves and record the skills they have achieved. This keeps them at the centre of the model. I’m already noticing the huge improvement in my young person and that’s enough for me to happily promote it.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of becoming a caregiver?

If you have a passion to make change, give back to society, and are looking for something different and challenging, then look no more! Caregiving is an opportunity to strengthen your character, encourage a young person’s pathway to success, and create a positive change in our community.

Why should they sign up to be a caregiver with Youth Horizons | Kia Puāwai?

They are one of the leading caregiving agencies in New Zealand. Their evidence-based programmes provide frameworks to make caregiving easier, and their support includes a 24-hour phone line, ongoing meetings and training, and a caregivers’ website with all the information you need to get started. Come on board. There’s definitely a space for you and always a young person who needs you.

To find out more about becoming a caregiver and changing a young person's life, click here