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T’s story of change and transformation

T’s story of change and transformation

April 28, 2021 Posted in Uncategorised by Auckland City Mission

Tauera’s story of change and transformation

The Mission team never works for thanks, but sometimes a special nod of gratitude comes along.  We recently received an email from Tauera, a long-term Mission client.  It’s an eloquently written letter of thanks in which he says “We are the invisible, the unseen and you all, for even sometimes just a moment, allow us to be part of the world again. You allow us to matter again.” 

The full letter is below.

I was 18 when I first made contact with The City Mission or more precisely Federal Street Detox. From that moment on I have been in contact in one form or another with The Mission for 31 years now.  I have seen many workers come and go and I have also had my opinion about who would last there and who wouldn’t.  I have been right in my assumptions more than not.  I was there when the Calder Centre was but one room at Hobson Street. I was a client sitting in detox about 18 years ago talking to Wilf and Irene and Diane about the idea they were floating and trying to get off the ground with extending The Mission and building a bigger place with more facilities to help those of us who need the help. I only am explaining all of this so you know my pedigree and connection with the place in hopes that what I write is taken seriously and not thought of as just happy to be off the street type think. So my connection with the new team helping us homeless was interesting in my eyes to say the least.  There was this poto as girl(my first impression because she was so young) who had this infectious energy say hi I am Chanelle and I am here to work with you.  I thought Dear God you have sent me a child to give me advice.  What are you thinking.Within 5 minutes I realised what He was thinking because by that time she had removed all doubt for me about her age and had me apologising for thinking her and the others who first set up the interview were nothing more than children playing grown ups.  Through working with Chanelle I had the absolute honour of meeting most of the rest of the homeless team.  My greatest pleasure I have to say is that she was not unique because the rest of them are exactly like her.  Loving,respectful, caring,strong enough not to take our shit, an ear when we need and someone just to be there when we don’t want to talk.  I am not sure if the team leaders or even the team themselves see what is really being achieved by all of them.  I think in many ways you think you feed us or get us a house or drop food off etc.  Now you guys do that but that is the obvious stuff you do.  Here is the stuff you all may not be aware of.  I now don’t just speak for me but for a lot of the brothers and sisters from the streets.  Because of who you all are we get to keep our dignity when we come in broken and battered by the world.  Irregardless of if it is your first time or like myself a few more than first time you treat us better than most of us have known in a long time.  You treat us like we are Joe Normal.Like we matter.  Like we deserve to be part of the world.  You give so many of us a sense of being important and we don’t feel that often at all.  You allow us to have moment with our own self respect.  You make us believe in so much more than what we see day in and day out which is the disdain of most of society or worse their total obliviousness to our existance.  We are the invisible, the unseen and you all for even sometimes just a moment allow us to be part of the world again.  You allow us to matter again. Unless you have been where we are you might not truly realise how much of an affect that really has.  On a personal note what you all did by showing just a simple kindness to a man who truly didn’t feel he deserve any kind of kindness at all has changed so much of who I thought I was and allowed me to become who I really am.  Today I sit in the library at AUT where I am doing my BA in Social Sciences writing this because of the team there.  You all have given me something back which truly makes me believe this is possible.You have allowed me to go for my dreams because not a single one of you would give up on me which allows me to not give up on myself.  I can never fully express my love, respect admiration and gratitude for you all.  From the person who first thought what can these kids teach me to the person who now knows please accept the most heartfelt thank you.  Wrapped up in those two words ‘thank you’ is so much more than I ever truly can express.  You all may think you are going to try and change the world.  No need to worry.  You already are.  Not just mine but so many more.  I know each and everyone of you who work with us homeless know my feelings for you all and I know how you all feel in return.  Once again thank you all for being who you are so I can finally be who I am.  I love you guys and see you tomorrow at breakfast.

Love Tauera Roberts(T)