Meet the RAW Women - Reclaim Another Woman | Women | Incubation
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Meet The RAW Women

Maxine

Maxine | Meet The RAW Women

What does earning your own income mean to you?
I definitely appreciate money a lot more after working 45-55 hours a week, rather than sitting on a benefit and having to scrounge or go without things I need.

When you visit your children what is the favourite activity you like to do together?
I know my girls like to do adventurous and exciting things when we hang out, but as long as I’m spending time with them and seeing them happy, that makes me happy.

What have you learnt about yourself while with RAW that you will take with you moving forward?
I’m strong enough to start again.

What does life after RAW look like for you?
Hmmm, life after RAW… I haven’t thought that far ahead, I’m happy with where I’m at in my life right now, I have no plans to leave the RAW programme anytime soon.

What funny habits do you have?
Sometimes I think of things from my past and no matter where I am or who I’m with I crack up laughing, if I’m alone in public and I start laughing people look at me like I’m nuts.

If you could bring one musician back from the dead who would it be and why?
Nirvana or Jim Morrison. Because I love their music, there’s no musicians like them today.

If you could time travel – would you go to the past or the future?
Definitely the future, the past got me to where I am and who I am today, but would love a sneak-peek at the future.

Which living person do you most admire and why?
My MUM. She raised 4 girls and 2 grandsons by herself, and works full time as a theater nurse at Waikato Hospital, she was our mum and dad, she’s my absolute hero.

What motivates you?
Life motivates me. My girls motivate me. I want more from life than drugs, crime and loneliness. And thanks to the support from Bex, Annah, Tony, and the lovely ladies in the RAW programme, I think I’m on the right track.

Nore

What do you enjoy about your study?
The thing I enjoy about studying is the wealth of knowledge you gain and the pathways that branch off as you explore all possibilities. I have always believed in education and if I had a choice, I would study forever.

What have you learnt about yourself while with RAW that you will take with you moving forward?
What I have learnt about myself while with RAW that I am going to take away with me, is the fact that I am able to make healthier choices in all areas of my life and they are the home, family, friends, and a positive outlook in what I watch and read. I would love to continue and incorporate this way of living so that I am around for a lot longer, because in my culture such lifestyle choices are not an option unless a serious illness forces them. In my immediate family no-one has lived past 55-60 years of age.

If you could do just one thing to influence your children’s futures what would you like to do for them?
I would like to finish my degree to show that change is possible no matter what life throws at you. That you have a choice, and determination, positive support and a healthy environment is what I can now see is a formula for success. And that’s what I want to give my children, especially my oldest girl who is currently serving a 4year 2month sentence.

What are your aspirations for the future?
My aspirations for the future is to become a motivational speaker for women and men of cultural backgrounds to make change for our future generation. To encourage, educate, and incorporate change spiritually, mentally and physically.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
The one thing I can’t live without is music.

What advice should you have listened to when you were a teenager?
The advice I should have listened to as a teenager was to go to university and do a degree in graphic design, to keep travelling, and don’t get tied down (and if you do – marry a Pakeha.)

What do you love about the age you are right now?
What I love about the age I am now is the fact that I can lead by example, and let those who are younger than me know that you only have one life to live, so don’t wait for things to happen If you want it don’t be afraid to try new things, and don’t be afraid to ask, because you won’t know unless you try. Life is too short to second-guess yourself, and there is so much that the world has to offer if you want it, and you can achieve anything with determination, hard work and good people driving you forward.

If you could bring one musician back from the dead who would it be and why?
Well this is a hard one, especially because I am studying towards a degree in music, and for me I would want all the great artists – the likes of Vivaldi (Four Seasons,) Claire de Lune, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Brooke Benton and Ella Fitzgerald, through to Michael Jackson, Prince, Ezy E, Aaliyah – and this is only to name a few. For me, all these artists have expressed the issues of their time with political, social and economic differences through the art of performance and the romantic notion of such artists. So the question is why – well for me it’s to simply jam with them and admire their musical talents.

What motivates you?
What motivates me? Life, education, travel and new experiences that I like to share with others.

How would you like to be remembered?
This is how I want to be remembered – by the way I lived my life.

Myra

What do you enjoy about going to work?
That I can work and keep motivated, that I can do something everyday that I enjoy.

If you were talking to yourself about coming to RAW for the first-time what advice would you give yourself?
The advice about coming to RAW is give it my best. As a lifer coming back to the community is a privilege and I humbly accept the support RAW provides.

What have you learnt about yourself while with RAW that you will take with you moving forward?
I have learnt that I am capable and can achieve what I set out to do, that I am resilient and adaptable.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Just to continue doing what I‘m doing. I don’t really plan too far ahead. It’s just that I only have a 5 year plan at the moment since I have strict conditions with Probation.

What’s your favourite TV programme?
My favourite TV programme is the News as I only really like reality TV but lately I have really liked Wentworth.

If you could bring one musician back from the dead who would it be and why?
The one musician I would want to bring back from the dead is Amy Winehouse as I loved her songs.

What talents do you have?
I am a good dedicated worker, I can crochet, I have an eye for fashion and design, and I am a good listener.

Name three things you can’t live without.
Food, water, clothing….

If you could time travel – would you go to the past or the future?
I would want to go to the future but then I’d be old.

If you could pick anyone in the world to meet, who would you pick and what would you like to ask them?
I’d like to meet Rhianna, the RMB singer, as she is my favourite singer and I would ask her to sing my songs.

Ina

How is coming to RAW different to previous releases from prison for you?
I have been released to a completely new way of living, thinking and functioning.

Thinking about your time at RAW what are you most proud of?
The massive amount of ongoing changes and growth I have made.

How has your time with RAW changed your view on what being a mother means?
The complete opposite of what I allowed to happen whilst I was parenting.

What do you want to do when your study finishes?
Open up my barbershop/salon.

Who is your favourite fictional heroine?
I don’t have one.

Where is ‘home’ to you?
Anywhere surrounded by mother nature, in the RAW homes, or Whangarei.

What makes you unique?
My willingness and determination, creative style and flair.

What are three things still left on your bucket list?
Own my own business and home, to have all my children living with me – parenting and advancing them forward the same way RAW has done for me.

If you could pick anyone in the world to meet, who would you pick and what would you like to ask them?
Nigel Latta – I would like to sit down and have a conversation with him.

If you could ask your future-self one question what would it be?
Do you see value in and love yourself?

Gina

How was coming to RAW different to previous releases from prison for you?
Coming to RAW was so totally different in comparison to previous prison releases. On your own the struggles are endless. Starting pre-release with the pressure to find a release address that the parole board will be satisfied with. Choices are so limited that it’s back to your offending address, or amongst family and associates that have always condoned your offending.

RAW provided me with a safe relocation, well away from my familiar offending environment and old associates. RAW worked side by side with me as I reconnected with my family, and guided me through my triggers, allowing me to just silt and let things pass without reacting. Once I would have made rash decisions and been back on my pathway to reoffending.

With WINZ there was none of the usual stand down period, and the pressures that surround being supported by the government, which makes the whole process too hard. reoffending is triggered as at the time it’s instant. The IRD and Ministry of Justice want what you owe from all the fines accumulated and ignored while offending, then there’s child support, and by the time they have all taken payments you’re lucky to be left with $150 a week.

RAW has worked hard to get us minimum payments and the best part is you are not stressed by owing money and it feels good knowing you’re dealing with it. Everyone is happy and you’re not stressed watching the pile of un-opened mail grow larger by the day.

Then RAW finds you something meaningful to fill your days – whether it’s employment or study, knowing you have a purpose and commitment makes you fit into society and feel almost normal. Where I previously had so many setbacks because of my criminal history, which left me feeling frustrated and worthless. Again, reoffending became the easier solution.

I could go on with many more scenarios and comparisons – these are just the beginning of the RAW journey.

What have you learnt about yourself while with RAW that you will take with you moving forward?
Clear communication will build great relationships, and not to take things personally.

Now you have been living independently away from the criminal world for two years how did coming to RAW change the way you have made choices for yourself (and your children)?
RAW provided for me the opportunity to relocate and this made it possible to offer the same chance to my sons. RAW has supported their transition also, for which I will be forever grateful. Like all parents, I want the best life possible for my sons and now at least I can support them and they have choices. RAW has taught me sit through the difficult times and let them pass if need be. I’m learning to communicate better than I ever have done.

What are your aspirations for the future?
I have been exploring the career pathway of a support worker, and have started studying Mental Health and Addictions at Wintec. I have enjoyed my employment experience with RAW and would like to create a career pathway supporting others with reintegration as I know how challenging release can be and support is the key to reducing reoffending.

What is your favourite time of the day?
Sunset if I’m on the West Coast, but anywhere else definitely the morning.

Tell us about your home?
Like a true Cancerian my home is secure, comfortable and as happy as possible. It’s where I love to be.

Who would play you in a movie version of your life?
Kate-Leigh….Underbelly Razor Series.

What do you feel most proud of?
The time I dedicated as a mother to my sons, between the influential ages of birth to twelve years old. I have since realised how important our core beliefs are, and how much this determines the adults we become. They are now reaping the rewards as they mature into young men.

If you could pick anyone in the world to meet, who would you pick and what would you like to ask them?
The Rock – also known as Dwayne Douglas Johnson – and I would ask him ‘Where have you been all my life?’

How would you like to be remembered?
I’ve always promised to leave plenty of stories for the grandchildren and I could write a book of adventures, lessons with a fairy-tale end. I would like to be remembered as a little bit naughty, adventurous, but kind, open minded, non-judgemental, and a free-spirited nice lady.

Bianca

What does a typical day look like for you now, compared to before you went to prison?
A typical day for me now looks pretty good! I get up in the morning feeling alive. I now live a life free of crime and drugs, I work for my money now instead of selling drugs or committing fraud, and that feels amazing.

What do you enjoy about going to work every day?
The money, and having structure and routine. Feeling like I have purpose, and knowing I’m making my family proud rather than just being on the streets lost.

Thinking about your time at RAW what are you most proud of?
I’m extremly proud of how far I have come. I never thought I would have ever been able to turn my life around – I thought I was too far gone.  I never believed I was ever going to get off meth, but I have! I’m proud of the better choices I make now.

What does life after RAW look like for you?
Hopeful and bright!!

If you could change one thing about yourself – what would it be?
Hmmmm?? I don’t think I would change anything – I kind of like who I am now.

What makes you unique?
I’d say my life journey –  it’s been pretty unique all right, and I’m still here living it!

What sports do you enjoy?
The sport I like to play is soccer, but I enjoy watching all sports.

Who is your favourite fictional hero/heroine?
My favourite heroine is Storm from X-Men.

If you could time travel – would you go to the past or the future, and why?
I would go back in time, and I would take the missed opportunities I had. There were a lot of good things going for me that I threw away.

Krystal

What was life like for you before Annah and RAW began supporting you?
My life was a whirlwind of one bad thing after another, my life consisted of drugs, violence and hell of a lot of poor choices and bad decisions.

How has your relationship with Annah changed your view on what being a mother means?
My relationship with Annah has changed from someone I viewed as a friend, to a woman I now view as a mother figure in my life. She has been there for me every step of my journey, and has never once made me question her loyalty. My views as a mother – well I believe motherhood is more than I ever imagined. It’s more exciting, more terrifying, definitely rewarding, more draining, easy to figure out – yet totally confusing.

What life lessons do you want to pass onto your children?
The life lesson I want to pass on to my children is to never take a good person for granted, someday someone will come along and appreciate what you didn’t.

Tell us a little about your studies and what career you want to pursue?
My studies at the moment are focused mainly on religious history as one day I want to become a religious political advisor.

What do you love about your age right now?
Right now I’m just loving and enjoying every moment as it comes in.  Not sure how I’m supposed to feel as I’ve never been this age before.

What are the things you cannot live without?
My children and a good cup of green Tea

What is the best movie you have seen – and why?
The best movie I have seen is The Colour Purple, because I could relate to a lot of the characters portrayed in the film.

What is your dream holiday?
My dream holiday would be to go to Bali with the people I love the most – my children.

If you were prime minister, what is the first thing you would do?
If I were Prime Minister the first thing I would do is…. well I don’t really know as I’ve never thought about becoming Prime Minister before.

How would you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered for helping others

Terri

Teri | RAW Women | Reclaim Another Woman

If you were talking to yourself about coming to RAW for the first-time what advice would you give yourself?
Do I know what I want?
Have I got a plan or future goals?
Does RAW have the support I need to achieve my goals and to support me with my life changes?

What does a typical day look like for you now compared to before you went to prison?
A typical day for me now consists of purpose, structure and discipline.  My days are always proactively balanced and I am learning more about not only myself but what healthy and normal is.   Life before prison was consumed by drugs, alcohol, crime and boredom with no sense of direction, no awareness of myself or the environments I put myself in.  Whereas now I have it all and so much more ahead waiting for me.

In your time at RAW what life lessons do you want to pass onto your children?
I would like to demonstrate that change is possible.  That independence is good and that there is a new normal in life and it involves being humble and successful.  That going for your vision and passion is doable through time, effort, motivation and determination.  How to overcome and manage life’s challenges in a positive way and to be kind to oneself as well as others.  To be a good role model.

What are your aspirations for the future?
Stability, security and happiness orientated to a healthy balanced lifestyle.  To own my own café and home. To make a difference even in one person’s life. Inner peace and love, and to leave my children with a legacy.

Are you a handshake or a hug type of person?
In a professional matter I’m a handshake person.  To those I am close to “huggies” it is.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Family and balance.

What is your favourite time of the day?
Mornings as it’s the beginning to a new active day of evolving.

What song makes you happy?
“Treat me like somebody” by Tink.

What do you love about the age you are right now?
I love the shift in my age.  At first I thought I was getting old or plain boring.  However, this is not the case, I am getting wiser and more aware which gifts me with patience, humbleness and the ability to take ownership for all I do in my life.  It’s a beautiful feeling to live with me now.

Which living person do you most admire?
Due to my previous lifestyle I can honestly say all things and people from the past that I admired and idolised were simply for that life, not this one which I am still shaping.  Therefore, I can honestly say I am not there yet and haven’t found that person.  I will though, further down my journey to success and happiness.

Teri came to RAW in late 2015 and left within 10 weeks before being recalled to prison. This time she has chosen to return to RAW with a clearer idea of what she wants for herself and how RAW will help her achieve her goals.

Number of years incarcerated:  9
Number of children:  2

Lynda

What do you enjoy about going to work every day?
Travelling

If you were talking to yourself about coming to RAW for the first time what advice would you give yourself?
This programme is definitely going to teach me the meaning of law abiding and being accountable for the better choices I’m about to make in my life.

Now you have been living independently away from the criminal world for several months how did coming to RAW change the way you have made choices for yourself? 
RAW introduced me to why I needed to change. I definitely know I don’t want to die a lost cause to my past. I basically want the best of my existing life, legally. I know this much, what I’ve achieved so far since my release from prison would never be without the RAW insights that I’ve learnt.

What are your aspirations for the future? 
I hope to be an inspiration for others who may be struggling, by noticing what I’ve achieved and that they too can do the same. By continuing my honesty and self-value to help me achieve better choices.

What animal best represents you? 
Horse {because I’m a goer}

How do you chill out?
Reading, gardening, and I take long drives with my dog anywhere near water.

What do you feel most proud of? 
I own my Ford, I’m healthy, and I make way better decisions. No matter how difficult life can get I am comfortable with reaching out for help.

What is a skill you would like to learn and why? 
I’d like to better my communication skills with people especially in the shearing industry.

If you were prime minister, what is the first thing you would do? 
I would put Annah Stretton in charge and take a long holiday with my dog.

Which living person do you most admire and why? 
Fiona Hartland. Her ideals and works in progress building structures to help guide our younger underprivileged people into the workforce. Giving them hope.