PARS is a proud partner of Share My Super; an organisation uniting Kiwi over-65s to help solve child poverty. The funds PARS receives through the generosity of those who donate to Share My Super help support our Te Ohomai Rangatahi service. PARS’ CEO Tui Ah Loo recently spoke with Spinoff about why interrupting the inter-generational pipeline of disadvantage for children and youth is so crucial, and the positive difference Te Ohomai Rangatahi is making. Here we share an excerpt from the article.
“When we talk of poverty, we don’t talk about money,” says Tui Ah Loo (Ngāti Porou, Tūhoe), CEO of PARS, a charity partner of Share My Super, and an advisor to Share My Super. “We talk about addressing poverty of the mind, of the spirit, of the body and the whānau. But when people think of poverty, they think about food, clothing, shelter. Poverty is more than that to us.”
PARS (People at Risk Solutions), supports people in the prison system and those entering or exiting prison, including youth and 501 deportees from Australia, and their whānau. They help people coming out of prison to open bank accounts, apply for benefits, find work and housing and reconnect with whānau.
“We provide services to what I would call the most vulnerable members of our society.” We’re very much about illuminating the silent sentence that our people face. [We’re] trying to address the stigma, the judgements, the bias that our people face on reentering society,” says Ah Loo.
The funding PARS receives from Share My Super is applied to the Te Ohomai Rangatahi service, which is targeted at “awakening the potential” of youth and putting young people on a positive trajectory.
“It was set up to stop one more generation of youth entering the pipeline of disadvantage,” says Ah Loo. “It is really about preventing our rangatahi from entering the justice system, or when they are in it, to get out and stay out.”
In the 2020/21 financial year, 81% of the rangatahi referred to PARS were supported to get out of prison. That support is “priceless”, as it starts to push back against the systemic issues that create disadvantage, says Ah Loo.
“You can’t put a value on that because that’s about stopping one generation at a time. Through this service that we’ve developed for our rangatahi, we are looking at addressing root causes that have impacted on our young people ending up in the system.”