Raincoats and rugby stars hit St Mary's

Raincoats and rugby stars hit St Mary's

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Students at St Mary's School in Avondale thought they were going to watch a special presentation for two of their classmates.

But thanks to KidsCan, they all walked away with brand new raincoats.

All of the school's 196 students piled into the hall to watch head boy Laukau Halatanu​ and head girl Apriljoy Avito receive fleece-lined raincoats as part of the charity's Raincoats for Kids programme. 

The first surprise of the afternoon came when it was announced that the jackets would be presented by some special guests. New Zealand Rugby League stars Georgia Hale, Ben Henry and Ali Lauitiiti arrrived and after a brief chat to the students they declared that everyone would be receiving limited edition Warriors raincoats, much to the jubilation of the Avondale youth.

A decile three school, St Mary's was taken off the KidsCan waiting list to join the programme in July of this year.

The organisation also provided tissues and basic healthcare and hygiene support for the school's health department.

"Providing things like raincoats can be a financial struggle for lower income families with many children actually kept home when it rains," says KidsCan chief executive officer Julie Chapman.

"Those who do go to school often turn up wet and freezing cold, which makes it very difficult to focus and participate in class."

Since the programs inception in 2005, KidsCan has provided over 237,000 raincoats to help keep kids warm and dry through the winter months.

Warriors backrower Ben Henry, who himself has had a tough year after a recurring knee injury forced him into retriment at just 24-years-old, said he takes a lot of joy out of being a part of the organisation's various youth programs and loves seeing kid's reactions when they are "provided with the essentials".

 

The Bay Roskill Vikings junior was mobbed by excited St Mary's students following the presentation and stuck around after the assembly to help fit the raincoats and take pose for photos.