Charity auction to provide mentors for children of prisoners

Press Release – PILLARS

12 October 2018

Organisers of an Auckland Pillars charity auction next month are hoping to raise more than $30,000 to support children with a parent in prison.

Pillars works with the families of prisoners, providing a wrap-around social service and offering mentors for children.

The charity was chosen by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to receive a $5000 donation as a gift to Prince Harry when he married Megan Markle in May this year and the Royal couple will visit the Auckland office on their tour of New Zealand later this month.

The 2017 auction raised more than $28,000, funding mentors for another 30 vulnerable children.

Pillars chief executive Verna McFelin says children of prisoners are the invisible victims of crime. They often get ostracised from the community and develop physical, mental and behavioural issues.

“Unfortunately, the prison population is increasing right now and so is the number of children that need support,” she says.

“Mentoring really works. What they do is give the children positive futures because they are 9.5 times more likely to end up in prison without that support.”

Mt Eden man and former Come Dine With Me NZ winner Dale Gray is offering a catered dinner for six people in the auction. Gray has mentored a boy for the past five years through Pillars and says the experience has taught him a lot.

“It helps you appreciate what you have and others don’t have. I’m a big part of my mentee’s life and he’s a big part of mine, so truly we are both much better for it,” Gray says.

The 2018 auction will be held at the Seafarers Club on Wednesday 14 November and donated items include a yacht cruise and a signed Black Caps cricket bat.

There are more than 20,000 children in New Zealand who have a parent in prison.

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