Meet Deborah McLarin - Westfield Local Heroes 2021
Helping kids reach their potential
Graeme Dingle Foundation Auckland
Dedicated. Humble. Nurturing
Former teacher Deborah McLarin has helped stamp out bullying and truancy among thousands of marginalised school children since joining the Graeme Dingle Foundation in 2018.
Deborah was a teacher for 37 years but jumped at the opportunity to become the coordinator for the foundation’s Kiwi Can programme, which combats antisocial behaviour, demotivation about education and lack of direction, which can place kids on a negative path later in life.
The early intervention program is delivered to 2167 tamaraki (children) in nine primary and intermediate schools located in areas of high social deprivation.
Every student is encouraged to participate. Team leaders teach them life skills and values while building their self-confidence and helping them learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Deborah is proud that the programme has led to significant decreases in bullying, truancy and other behavioural issues.
She is widely admired for nurturing her staff to ensure they fulfil Kiwi Can’s goal of helping kids overcome life’s obstacles so they can reach their full potential.
Deborah says she feels incredibly humbled to be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero. “Our programme works. Our kids have grown in strength and confidence, and that changes behaviour,” she says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. The Graeme Dingle Foundation will use its funds to keep delivering its Kiwi Can programme to schools throughout 2021.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here