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Photo by Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland

Positively Invercargill NRG/Rotakids

District 9980 —

The "RotaKids" concept is spreading!

The youngest branch of Rotary, Rotakids is aimed at children from around 7 to 12 – Years 3 to 8. As well as being strong in the UK, Rotakids clubs are very active in Brazil and Romania, and clubs have also recently chartered in Australia and Italy. The first Rotakids club chartered in New Zealand was last year in Waimate - yes in District 9980!!

The formation of a Rotakids club at New River Primary School, Invercargill was adopted as a project of the Invercargill NRG Rotary Club. Their initial step was to formulate a "framework" for how Rotakids might look, and integrate into the school context. Many children attending New River Primary are of Pacific or Māori ethnicity and for some, English is their second language. Also a number have experienced trauma in their lives. The “Poppycock Trust” has supported NRG with the initial establishment of Rotakids, as part of their expertise of facilitation with a ‘trauma informed approach’. This started with the school staff receiving specialist training from Poppycock to ensure that they can recognise the signs and know how to manage any interactions in a way that is sensitive to this - which some of the NRG members attended.

Next came Police vetting of NRG volunteers, Social Media presence, meeting with the school’s senior leadership and other aspects of implementing the framework in a true community collaboration.

Rotakids is not "role playing" or "pretending" to be Rotarians. Everyone has something valuable to contribute to their community, and Rotakids is a way of exploring this and is an avenue or an opportunity for them to see how they can contribute to their school and the wider community.

The main project at the moment is a mural for the school, which all of the classes are getting involved with. This requires some fundraising - so the Rotakids reps have organised a fundraising breakfast (and have a few other ideas in the pipeline).