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Sunshine in a box

Aurora Foundation leadership programme students created special sunshine gift boxes to brighten the lives of children whose families are suffering hardship from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The young leaders chose SuperGrans Tairawhiti to distribute the boxes through its contacts in the community.

The gift boxes were decorated by the leaders and filled with goodies such as cards, games, pens, hand sanitiser and home-made apricot balls.

“We were extremely humbled by the care that went into creating the boxes and the kind little affirmations written inside,” said SuperGrans Tairawhiti manager Linda Coulston.

SuperGrans will give the boxes to Social Workers in Schools (SWIS), which will give them out on behalf of the Aurora group.

The leadership group has had five leadership workshops this year, with the service component being an important part of the programme.

“They were encouraged to use their own gifts and talents to help others,” says Aurora Education Foundation executive director Sunny Bush.

To ensure the programme was not too disrupted by Covid-19, Aurora used digital technology to present leadership modules.

“The orientation day's content was taught online — a first-ever for Aurora students,” Mrs Bush said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused other repercussions for the leadership programme in 2020.

“Instead of our usual team fundraising effort for a student-selected local cause, we have refocused the priorities.

“The leaders came to the collective decision that raising funds in a community hit hard by an economic downturn was not the best use of their energies.

“Rather, they decided to ‘give in-kind' as their service back to the community.”

The Aurora Leadership Programme for gifted children is provided by the Aurora Education Foundation and has several strands, including drama, creative writing, leaders of the land and eco-warriors.

Thirty-two children from 12 Gisborne primary schools took part in the programme.

“We cater for children with diverse talents and passions,” said Mrs Bush.

The overall Aurora programme is supported by 21 schools this year, including three primary schools from the Wairoa district.”

See also this story 'Digital Explorers go retro to celebrate Te Maro' here.

THE JOY OF GIVING: Children from the Aurora Leadership Programme with their hand-decorated gift boxes filled with goodies are Catalina Camero (front) from St Mary's School, Leyton Hall from Makauri School and Sydney Wills from Central School. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell