Sandi Cummings has supported Taranaki in many ways over the past 17 years and has taken a placement in Hawera following the discovery of the need for ongoing youth support.
Sandi Cummings will need no introduction to many. Her previous role with the Problem Gambling Foundation saw her working in the public health arena to support gamblers to stop, and to support their families through the process.
Having joined Tui Ora nearly two months ago, Sandi is now heading in a new direction working with Rangatahi Youth Service in South Taranaki, covering Eltham, Hawera, Patea and Opunake.
"There is a big need for our service in the South. We have young people that need counselling and guidance. Much more support is needed for vulnerable children and youth."
It is still early days for Sandi who has been busy developing relationships with the local communities and learning about the problems young people are dealing with.
"There are some really big issues facing our youth like over exposure to social media, lack of family resources, substance abuse, poor self-esteem and self-harm. These are just a few of the problems, but I've been so impressed with the strength and resilience of the people I've met."
Sandi's job is to identify barriers to wellbeing and to work alongside young people to help them develop strategies to work through their thoughts, emotions and behaviours positively. She works closely with colleagues in mental health and with the kaumatua to guide clients to a better pathway.
So far, so good for Sandi who is relishing working in an office surrounded by colleagues, having been the lone counsellor at her previous workplace.
"I'm really excited to be working with young people. I love their hopeful energy and their readiness to laugh and grow. It's great to have the opportunity to intervene early and support young people to explore their thinking and behaviours before they become a problem."
Read a profile of Sandi in the Hawera Star here.(external link)