In 2009 the OSCAR programme that had existed in Rowley closed its doors and Rowleyz SHARP was born. This is no ordinary after school programme, instead it is a strength based programme where children choose an activity that they have an interest in such as Pacific dance, Art, Music or Sport. The tutors live in Rowley as do the high school volunteer leaders; in fact it is a pre requisite for volunteering at Rowleyz SHARP. The programme is run at Rowley School (decile 1) and the cost to the children is kept to a minimum to make it accessible for all. Rowleyz has opened doors for many children to explore and develop their talents.
Lotu knows first-hand what it is like to grow up in Rowley and the amazing impact a positive role model can have. She grew up in a family of 8 children with older brothers, sisters and cousins. There was always someone to look up to but now days many children do not have the same privilege. Lotu has come through the SHARP “ranks” as a volunteer Leader, Supervisor, Pacifica Tutor and now Coordinator.
“I Love the fact that I get to show these kids that they have something special to offer the world and that they are not alone, that their talent is a gift from God and should be celebrated.” Having a passion for her Samoan heritage Lotu passes that on to the children in her care through Pacific dance.
With Pacifica the children have the opportunity to perform at the local Hoon Hay Fiesta in front of a big crowd, not to mention all the extra performances the group do for the local school.
Rowleyz SHARP is all about connecting the local community, and in the process, developing young leaders. Rowleyz SHARP grew out of SHARP Trust, which is one of the Community Ministries at South West Baptist Church (formerly Spreydon Baptist) and it continues to help young people reach their potential by providing “Quality Christian out of school care” to over 500 children a week.
Lotu has shown a lifelong passion for her community and SHARP has given her a platform to put this into action. This quality is shared by many in this community which makes it a very special place.