“I always wanted to move out of south Auckland because of what was happening around me. I never wanted my kids to grow up here. I ended up leaving my job and moved to Australia, and my whole family followed me. I started working with church youth over there and then realised that I actually wanted to work with youth from my hood, so my wife and I, and our daughter ended up moving back. Leaving Australia meant leaving my parents and siblings and also meant taking a major pay cut.
Early this year I saw one young person in the shops who kept eyeing me up. He recognised me from being a youth worker at his school. He came over and said “I wanted to say how much you influenced me, you got me through a difficult time. I’m studying to be a social worker now”. I got emotional. He gave me affirmation of what I was doing and where I was going. I asked him what made him go into social work? “I want to influence others the way you influenced me”. It was a good reminder that your small influence can make a big impact in someone else’s life.