Learning to be myself transcript

(Lakiesha Cummings speaking)

So I was raised by my foster parents since I was five months old. They brought me up really well and then I got taken off them, not because of anything they did but purely because of my own actions.

I was so scared to come in here because I had been in three other placements before that and I ran away from them.

I was like, “this is just a house, I’m not even going to like it, I don’t really care”.

Then I got in here and I was like, “oh my gosh, I love these people”.

They created such an amazing wairua, such an amazing spirit in here that no one wanted to go.

The aroha in here was amazing, we all loved each other for who we were and it really just changed my perspective on how I was being as a child, and that’s why I changed.

We learnt a lot of different values while being in this house. I learnt mainly to just be myself, because I think that, especially when going through care, you try to be someone else to sort of put up a mask and hide your true identity as a human.

It was one of the best lessons you could ever experience really, and this is just because of the kaupapa that Aunty and Uncle have brought into this whare.

I think I would make a good social worker because I know what it’s like to be in their shoes.

I want to be that person to empower the tamariki to be who they are and stand up for what they believe in.