HELEN JOHNSON – North Canterbury Contact and Under 5’s Team
Helen was nominated by Heather Craig, Secretary – Multiples Canterbury
“Over the last 18 months there has been what can only be described as a twin-boom in the North Canterbury area. Providing support and connecting with these new members has presented some challenges for Multiples Canterbury, as the majority of volunteers and events have been centred on Christchurch and the Selwyn District to the south.
Helen is mum to a seven-year-old boy (Finn) and two-year-old twin girls (Willow and Bree) and lives in Rangiora, North Canterbury. She has stepped into the role of North Canterbury Contact without missing a beat. Seeing the need for a place for new multiples parents to connect, she offered to host a coffee group at her house every week. This group runs right through the school holidays and up until Christmas. Even during lockdown, Helen arranged regular online chats and check-ins. I really think that Helen represents what our club volunteers should be about, everyone in the area knows they can turn to her for advice, a pep-talk, or a cup of coffee and a laugh. The amount of time she puts into keeping in touch with everyone and making sure that any issues are identified to the wider club is a significant personal investment.
On a personal note, I am one of the North Canterbury newbies. My first contact with the club was responding to Helen on a facebook post. She invited me over, let me cry on her shoulder, introduced me to other multiples families, and encouraged me to become more involved in the club (resulting in me being elected secretary at last years AGM). Talking to the other North Canterbury mums we all have similar experiences, where Helen reaching out has transformed our support system from struggling comparing ourselves to our peers with singletons to having a core group of multiple parent friends – and we all know the amazing value of this! I have full confidence that Helen’s openness and friendly approach will mean that future multiples parents will also be brought into this valuable support system.
In terms of more official duties, Helen is currently setting up the North Canterbury Playgroup through Ministry of Education channels. She has also secured us an appropriate venue (no easy feat in this area for such a number). Helen also organises Tumbletimes and other events in Christchurch for the Under 5 age group and is a regular helping out at club events such as Christmas parties, fundraisers, and club picnics”