From our 2018 December newsletter.
In 2015, Mothers Project was piloted in Auckland. Now, three years later, Auckland is home to the largest number of Mothers Project volunteers. With over 50 female lawyers signed up to the project, they have seen over 268 mothers who are parents to an estimated 800 children.
Libby Oliver has been a Mothers Project volunteer since June 2017 and is regular at prison visits.
In October, she left her job at a corporate law firm to pursue a career in family law, inspired partially by her experience volunteering. “Volunteering with Mothers Project has provided me with a purpose and drive that I have yet to find anywhere else. Being able to help these women connect or re-build their relationship with their tamariki is a hugely rewarding task” said Libby to us.
Attending prison visits is a key aspect of Mothers Project. “I really encourage current volunteers to attend prison visits as much as you can – the more you go, the more comfortable and confident you become. It isn’t as intimidating as you might think! When I meet with a mother, I always do my best to look past the fact that she is in prison, and see and treat her as a mother only. As a volunteer, you have the ability to listen to her concerns and then be her voice outside of prison.”
Volunteering with Mothers Project is a rewarding experience. Recently, a mother came up specifically to thank Libby at a prison visit. Libby had helped her set up a phone call for her to speak to her son, after not seeing him or hearing his voice for 2 years. “It totally makes it worth it.”
Despite moving cities, Libby is continuing on as a volunteer next year.
If you are one of our Auckland volunteers who hasn’t attended a visit before, please join us in 2019. You will be buddied up with an experienced volunteer who can show you the ropes, and you will not be left alone. The other volunteers “are supportive, always available to answer any questions (either during a prison visit or with follow ups), and are just a really committed bunch of lawyers.”