One of the most important roles we have at I Have a Dream, is building relationships. All relationships need to be developed and nurtured over time and the most important relationship a Navigator has in their role is, with their Dreamers. However, in order for this relationship to strengthen and bond over time, additional relationships need to be forged, for example, with whanau and school staff.
Recently, one of our Dreamers (whom we’ll call ‘Tane’) sadly lost a close family member. For Tane, this relative was a key male role model in his life and the loss set off a downward spiral in behaviour. Tane began bunking school and it soon became apparent to his Navigator that he was also huffing (Collins Dictionary definition: the practice of inhaling toxic fumes from glue and other household products for their intoxicating effects). The Navigator sought Tane out, bought him dinner and they talked about things that had been going on, including how to try and make good decisions going forward. After dinner, the Navigator took Tane home. It was from here that the Navigator began to understand the whanau dynamics and build a relationship with Tane’s Mum.
A close relationship, built on trust, has now been forged with Tane’s Mum, whanau and his Navigator. Tane can still become angry and conduct destructive behaviour at times, but his Navigator will often be able to understand the triggers through the close contact with Tane’s family.
It is not only life at home which has had its challenges for Tane. Tane has had difficulty with learning since primary school, which was diagnosed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). It was critical for both the Navigator and Primary School staff, that Tane’s transition from primary to high school was as smooth as possible. Through a process of transparent communication and good relationships, Tane’s needs at high school, were able to be accommodated from the outset. The High School moved Tane to the Te Putahitanga class which has seen Tane strive to learn and really improve. Throughout this entire process, the one consistent link for Tane was his Navigator – this constant stability in young people’s lives is key to the success of the I Have a Dream programme.
Through the course of Tane’s I Have a Dream journey, Tane’s Navigator has become a trusted male figure in his life and Tane will consistently seek his Navigators guidance to help him with his day to day. This relationship, along with many others, is continuing to go from strength to strength.
Note: Researchers estimate that fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) occurs in 1 in 100 children (https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/conditions-and-treatments/disabilities/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder-fasd)