children 1st charitable trust

our focus


To build a resilient community where everyone is treasured.


To support the development of social, emotional and life skills of young people and their families.


Our four core values are:
Justice, Integrity, Respect and Courage…

Core values

Our four core values are:
  • Respect

    Respect helps us to value differences, to appreciate each person for her or his unique qualities. Through respect, we help bring out the full potential of each person and treat them with dignity.

  • Integrity

    We stand up for what we believe is right, living by our highest values in all that we do.

  • Justice

    We show Justice by being fair in all that we do and make decisions that benefit everyone equally. We always look for the truth and protect everyone’s rights.

  • Courage

    Courage gives us the determination to embrace life fully and to do what is right even when it is difficult. With courage it supports us to take the next step and to face adversity with confidence.

CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust fulfils the intent of The Treaty of Waitangi by valuing and reflecting New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage.


Registered Trust CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust is a non-profit organisation registered with the Charities Commission.
Trust Registration Number: CC49467
Incorporated and registered in May 2013

Organisational Purpose The purpose of CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust is to establish and operate services for young people and their families to support the development of social, emotional and life skills, with a view to assist them to make a more worthwhile contribution to society.

Our Trust aims to provide external, evidence-based programmes for children in a school setting, that fall within the middle to low range of needing social and emotional support. This objective is to help prevent them from falling into the high-risk category where they will require an ongoing high level of support.


our trust

CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust was established in 2013 because our Trustees recognised a need to provide primary school-aged children with extra support to improve their confidence, self-esteem and teach them strategies to help them better cope with life today.

CHILDREN 1st is based in Cambridge and we currently offer & facilitate Resilience Programmes for children and their parents in Primary schools within the Waipa and Waikato region.

We have received ongoing support from both Community Waikato to assist in the development of our Trust and Herbert Morton Accountants in Cambridge.

Our Trustees have a positive and mutual respect for each other, are all motivated to help children and are passionate about the Trust’s cause.

Three of our Trustees teach in schools in the Waikato and have been actively involved in education and the community for more than 20 years. It is very evident to our Trust that there is an increasing number of children and families that need extra support in coping with the challenges of daily life.

Chief Executor


Chief Executor

Trust Members



Pauline baty


Sandra Hadfield


Lynne Douglas



CHILDREN 1st provides Resilience programmes in Waipa and Waikato schools for children aged 5 – 13 years, primarily free of charge.

All programmes are run by Registered teachers who are trained and experienced facilitators.

Children will benefit from gaining confidence, resilience, self-esteem, empathy, social skills, building friendships by bringing in an external programme.


I am much happier since I’ve been to the resilience programme. I can now share my feelings and I feel a lot calmer and not as angry. I now walk away when being bullied and don’t get into fights like I used to. I am more positive and confident to try new things.

Child A

We have all seen first hand the positive impact this programme has had on all the students she has worked with; particularly students who are deemed to be at risk and who have extreme socialisation issues. We have seen changes around children being less anxious, having skills to deal with stressful situations, developing increased confidence and self-assurance, being more willing to interact with others in a positive way and generally be happier. This has had an obvious flow-on effect for families and the school.

Mike Malcolm Principal Leamington School

He understands his feelings better and can articulate to me how he feels but also what he’s going to do about it. He has a better understanding of coping strategies like deep breathing and recognising risks. We talk a lot about the strategies and the things that have affected us in the past and how to manage those situations in the future.

The facilitator has listened and reacted sincerely to all matters discussed. She has taken the time to understand and offer helpful suggestions for pathways forward. My son has blossomed as a school leader by using some of the strategies provided.

Parent Evaluation

I have made more friends and just feel much happier since I’ve been doing the resilience programme. I’m more confident to speak up and stand up for people. I don’t worry as much and I think helpful thoughts, which makes me feel more positive.

Child B

My daughter has gained so much confidence since doing the resilience programme. The Parent handouts and Information Evenings have been very helpful in terms of how to support our children. We talk about the strategies at home and do the relaxation as a family.

The facilitator leads by example and shows compassion, encouragement and knowledge of her teachings.

Parent Evaluation


One in five adults and children suffer from anxiety and depression. This is more prevalent than ADHD, drug use, or any other mental health problem.

Only 5% of cases receive intervention! ( Andrews, 2005 )

Anxiety and depressive disorders make up 60% of school and work difficulties (Andrews 2005)

New Zealand communities have one of the highest rates of bullying, mental health issues, youth suicide and family violence.

“Children who are emotionally and socially skilled are more successful at school.”

– (Durlak et al., 2011)

“ Children who are emotionally and socially skilled relate better to other children, teachers and parents. They are more competent in dealing with stress and school work.”

– (Aber, Jones & Cohen, 2000)

“Children that have learnt empathy, emotional and social competence show significantly less behavioural problems at school, even if they are in adverse life circumstances.”

– (Caprara et al., 2000)

CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust is committed to working with young children and parents to help prevent the increase of mental health issues and violence in the family and in our community. This will in turn help reduce the huge financial cost for society if these young people are given the support they need and so deserve.


Chief Executor

Susan Lyon

Sue is a registered Primary teacher who has worked in multicultural settings for 30 years. During that time she has worked in South Auckland as a Senior Teacher and a Deputy Principal at Mauke Primary, in the Cook Islands.

She has always been very passionate about working with children and families.
With the change in today’s society, it was becoming more evident for the need to teach children and families coping strategies and self-help techniques. Therefore Sue pursued a way to support, teach and empower children and families, so they can develop greater emotional intelligence, resilience and increase their confidence and self-esteem. Also giving them tools to improve their social interaction and to resolve conflict in a more peaceful manner.

Sue strongly believes that all these factors are crucial to the positive development of the individual, whanau, community and the nation as a whole. This vision led Sue to initiate the formation of CHILDREN 1st Charitable Trust, which became a registered Trust in May 2013.

Sue has the role of Chief Executor and is responsible for the day to day operations of the Trust. She is also contracted by the Trust to facilitate Resilience programmes in Waipa and Waikato schools and assist parents and teachers in implementing strategies into the school and home environment.

Trust Member

Owen Corlett

I am the Principal of Lichfield School, in the South Waikato. I have been involved in educating children for over 16 years and have held a range of teaching and leadership positions over this period.

I live in rural Waikato with my wife and three children (2 adult age and 1 school-age). My youngest child has in the past, benefited from being involved in one of the programmes that the Children 1st Charitable Trust runs, and so I know first-hand how valuable and important these programmes are.

In my daily work, I have seen how significant the need is for children to be able to develop coping skills and strategies for an ever-changing world. The development of resilience, confidence and healthy self-esteem is vital if our children are to be successful members of our community and society.

I am the current chairperson of the Children 1st Charitable Trust and it is an honour for me to have the opportunity to be involved within the trust; knowing that the work we do, will benefit other families just like mine.

“Titoki mai te whenua ki te rangi. Ko nga rau o te rakau, he marumaru mo te iwi. Ko nga pukupuku o te rakau hei oranga mo te hinengaro, mo te tinana, mo te whanau me te wairua”.

The titoki tree grows out of the earth towards the sky. It shelters the seedlings below with its leaves and knotty trunk. So we look to a strengthened and enduring structure to invigorate our people, stimulate their intellectual and spiritual imagination and sustain the wellbeing of our families.

Trust Member

Pauline Baty

I am a Primary Teacher with many years of experience in Primary and Preschool.

My current position is the Transition to School Teacher, in a Reception Room, at Leamington Primary School in Cambridge.

I am passionate about children and feels all children deserve the right to be a part of the community. To do this they require some necessary skills to help them cope with today’s world. As society changes rapidly children need to have the skills to cope with these changes and to have good interpersonal skills. I feel the Children 1st Charitable Trust values and teaching of skills provide ways for children to grow up to become worthwhile adults who can contribute to their changing society.

Trust Member

Shandra Hadfield

Sandra’s expertise lies in financial management, particularly in the
education and residential construction sectors. During the 17 years, Sandra was the finance officer of a school in the Waikato, from 1994 to 2012, she came to appreciate the work done by teachers in their efforts, not only to educate children but to make a difference in the lives of an increasing number of children who need help coping with the demands or effects of their everyday lives.

Sandra developed a deep respect for teachers in those years, and those who actively seek to make a difference in the lives of children, and decided that the best way she could help was to ensure teaching and support staff had the best administration support possible so they could concentrate on their core roles of teaching and nurturing.

While in her role at the school, Sandra worked alongside the other ladies who now make up the Board of Trustees for the Children 1st Charitable Trust, and as a result of the mutual respect and similar values shared by all, Sandra was offered the position of Treasurer for the new Trust, which she accepted without hesitation. Sandra brings to the Trust integrity, a requirement for transparency and a grounded perspective that will serve the Trust well. Sandra currently lives on the Gold Coast of Australia, working as an on-site residential property manager and real estate agent, but with the aid of modern technology is able to provide effective financial management to support the goals of the Trust.

Trust Member

Lynne Douglas

My name is Lynne Douglas. I have been involved in education for many years as a teacher in the Primary sector.

In today’s rapidly changing world children need now, more than ever, the skills to be able to develop resilience to help them cope and deal with the pressures many of them have to face.

Children 1st Charitable Trust provides children and their families with programmes for this to occur and because of this, I am very passionate to be involved in this organisation.