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"Kidsfirst Beckenham rescued me"
ABOVE: Karolin (dressed in the red skirt) with teacher Helen Peters and some of the children dressed up for Vintage Car Day and Kidsfirst Beckenham.
Karolin Potter is the Deputy Chairperson of the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board and works in a variety of ways to support the Beckenham area. So, she seemed like the definition of a "special guest" for the Vintage Car Day that Kidsfirst had as part of their 100 Years Young celebration.
Karolin really got into the spirit of Vintage Car Day by dressing up in period clothing and spending the day playing old games like hoops and skittles with the children and teachers. They also enjoyed a picnic together in the sunshine.
However, Karolin's connection with Beckenham is a lot deeper than that.
"I moved from Wellington to Christchurch with three children under three and a half, the youngest three weeks old and the other two with chicken pox. My husband was travelling a lot for his job and I didn't know a single soul."
She approached Kidsfirst Beckenham and explained her situaiton. The entry of her eldest child was fast-tracked, giving Karolin not only a much needed break, but most critically, a connection with other parents and the Beckenham community.
Karolin and a group of other mums she met once she joined Kidsfirst Beckenham remain friends today.
"I am still connected in the community with people I was on the kindergarten committee with. I remember putting up the chairs on the wee desks at my last kindergarten meeting in tears; I had such a happy time at that kindergarten and because of the friendship and support from the kindergarten teachers and other parents, it saved my life at the time."
Friends that she made when her children were little have had a stall at the weekend market for many years that funds a biannual holiday together. They continue to support each other now that they are grandparents, just as they did when they were wide-eyed mums.
"You cannot survive child rearing without other parents. You get back 100 times more than what you give."
KIDSFIRST KINDERGARTENS ARE A NOT FOR PROFIT ASSOCIATION THAT HAS DEVELOPED AND MAINTAINED KINDERGARTENS IN CHRISTCHURCH, CANTERBURY AND ON THE WEST COAST FOR OVER 100 YEARS - AS THE PLACE LOCAL KIDS COME TO LEARN, PLAY AND HAVE FUN.
Kidsfirst Beckenham's special Vintage Car Day visitor holds the kindy close to her heart.
It was there that she formed lifelong friendships and really got her footing in Christchurch.