Mentor: Cave Creek disaster survivor Stephen Hannen is helping mentor children at Central New Brighton School.
A Cave Creek disaster survivor is among volunteers taking part in a mentoring programme at Central New Brighton School.
Burwood resident Stephen Hannen was one of the four people to survive the collapse of a viewing platform high above Cave Creek, in the Paparoa National Park, on the West Coast, which claimed the lives of 14 young people in April 1995.
Mr Hannen felt he had something to offer after so many people had taken the time to guide and support him both before and after his accident.
"These kids are struggling to deal with the ups and downs of life, especially since the earthquakes. If that hour a week can make a positive difference, then it's worth it," he said.
The initiative is a joint venture set up by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Christchurch and the Youth Alive Trust in New Brighton.
It has been made possible with earthquake related funding from the Vodafone Foundation and the United Way.
Currently, eight students at Central New Brighton School receive a visit from a volunteer mentor once a week during school hours and it is hoped that this number will grow with more support from the local community.
Central New Brighton School principal Toni Burnside said she was delighted with the extra support.
"The kids light up when their mentors come to school and the mentors seem to really enjoy their time together too. It's such a great thing for our school."
Members from the Grace Vineyard Church and Youth Alive Trust have also volunteered so far but more mentors are needed.
Big Brothers Big Sisters' manager Matt Button said: "We hope local Brighton businesses may encourage a staff member to pop into the school and hang out with a child for an hour."
Big Brothers Big Sisters is also seeking volunteers to be matched with young people in its community-based programme, where mentoring takes place outside of school hours.
It is also hoped that the in-school mentoring programme can be extended to other schools in the area once more volunteers come on board.
"The need in the north eastern side of the city is huge," Mr Button said.