When Georgina walked into a Monte Cecilia office in 2008, it felt like a low point. She had returned from the Cook Islands seven months pregnant with her partner and two-year-old son to live with her mother-in-law, but found herself facing homelessness when her mother-in-law moved out of her social housing home to be with family, leaving her family without a home. 

What she didn’t expect was that moving into Monte housing would be the first step in discovering her own passion for supporting other families.

“There were 11 other families on site who all shared the same situation and we bonded together with programmes and life stories whilst looking after our own families of a daily basis,” Georgina says. “While we were there we engaged with staff, helping out with sorting donated gifts and cleaning the after-hours room, helping keep Monte a clean environment for our children.”

In the years that have followed, Georgina has consistently remained a part-time employee of Monte Cecilia and has gone on to also become a Resource Recovery ‘Therapist’ with ME Family Services, where she manages resources from lost property at Auckland Airport and networks within their community. 

“This is where we recycle the items back into the families by sharing a story and linking them to the support systems they need. Time trading is a bartering system used at ME Family where families trade their time for resources. One-hour worth of work for an hour’s worth of clothing.”

“Part of being where I am is the result of walking down a path with a lot of doors, where there was alcohol abuse, domestic violence, where I could have had my children removed. I went through years of trying to cope with these issues and it taught me to stand strong and voice myself. The support system with Monte and ME Family Services is the reason for my getting back on track and made me stronger and taught me to put my life and children on the right path.”

“My journey has been an experience that I am blessed to have stories shared with me and be able to listen and link these families to the right doors. It’s also nice to give back as I see the struggle other families have and the potential for their own wellbeing.”