Water boy visit promotes benefits of volunteering

Kids in Need Waikato founder Linda Roil, and The WaterBoy founder Thomas Nabbs, flanked by Korakonui School students Nicholaas Van Hout and Wyatt Foster, and Knighton Normal School student Quinn Hodgson.

About 50 youngsters from two regional schools spent a morning earlier this month preparing supportive Christmas messages for children living in less fortunate circumstances.

The students from Hamilton’s Knighton Normal School, and Korakonui School on Te Awamutu’s Wharepuhunga Rd, visited Linda Roil’s Kids in Need Waikato base in Cambridge. The trip was organised by The WaterBoy, a Hamilton-based charity created by Thomas Nabbs to break down barriers, primarily through participation in sport and other personal development activities.

The youngsters spent the morning painting rocks and making Christmas Eve bags in which to put them for distribution to families requiring a little additional festive cheer.

Originally from Cambridge, Thomas started The WaterBoy in 2016 as a Waikato-wide charity intent on providing youngsters with opportunities to create a better future, initially through participation in sport.  A couple of years later, he extended its focus to offer Taku Wairua, a personal development programme aimed at teaming participants with a mentor to work through four principal pillars of development – belonging, goal-setting, self-discovery and citizenship.

Some of the before and after painted rocks bearing upbeat Christmas messages for Kids in Need Waikato gift bags

“An important aspect is learning about the benefits of giving back,” said Thomas, “and that is what we are doing at Kids in Need Waikato. Some of these youngsters are not taught about the benefits of volunteering … this is part of their self-discovery element.”

Linda Roil said she was delighted to have the group on board to help brighten Christmas for less-fortunate children.  As well as painting rocks in lively colours and with special messages, and making Christmas Eve bags, the group did a spot of yard work around the Kids in Need Waikato shed.

Knighton Normal School principal Stuart Armistead said some 28 youngsters at his school had benefitted greatly from their engagement with The WaterBoy programme over the past year.

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