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Karen’s unique helpline

SARAH ARGYLE
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2014
Karen Leuschke
COMMUNITY MINDED: Kidsline stalwart Karen Leuschke says the service is the only one of its kind.

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Karen Leuschke has worked with youngsters through Kidsline since it was first launched 26 years ago.

The free, confidential phone service enlists older children to counsel younger ones.

Mrs Leuschke is a mentor for the organisation and helps with training.

"It's revolutionary," she says.

"There's no other place in the world that has older children counselling younger children."

Year 12 and 13 counsellors offer the right amount of empathy but have enough distance to be the best ear for Kidsline's target age of 6 to 13-year-olds, she says.

"Whenever I hear news about teens doing destructive things I think of the hundreds of Kidsline buddies I have mentored and am given every hope for the future.

"There are amazing young people out there. There were 26 years ago and there still are in 2014."

The Orakei resident has spent much of her 69 years dedicated to the well-being of children.

She has been involved with Lifeline, from which Kidsline emerged, for more than 43 years. She's also been a teacher for 45 years and has four children and eight grandchildren of her own.

Mrs Leuschke says young people face many issues that Kidsline can help them to overcome.

"It connects me with young people who are wise and it's nice to know I am having a positive effect on someone's life."

She never thought the service would play such a mammoth part in her life but is thrilled to still be involved.

"It's just as strong as it ever was. We need it, our kids need it, our young people need it. It's one of those services that can make a difference, does make a difference and I intend to stay part of it."

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Registration fees will pay for more volunteers

Kidsline will receive $26,000 from registration fees paid by people entering this year's  Ports of Auckland Round the Bays which starts on March 9 at 9.30am.

The money will go towards more volunteer buddies.

Ports of Auckland Round the Bays is a joint collaboration between the Auckland Joggers Club and Fairfax Media and Suburban Newspapers.

Registration proceeds will also help support , Radio Lollipop, Cystic Fibrosis Auckland Branch, The Hearing House, Crohns and Colitis New Zealand, Raukatauri Music Therapy Trust, Kidsline and Fairfax First Books.

Go to roundthebays.co.nz for more information and to register.

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- Manukau Courier

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