Our Volunteer community coordinators
Leonie - Waikato
Hi, I'm Leonie, I am originally from Europe and was fortunate to benefit from a grandparenting surrogacy when my family immigrated to New Zealand in the 1990's. We referred to our surrogate grandies at Ome Arnold and Tante Annie -aunt and uncle in Dutch. Back in those days our contact with our biological grandparents was through snail mail and Telecom's 2 hour phone call deals where the entire family would all queue up for our slot to talk to our grandparents. Ome Arnold and Tante Annie filled that gap where our grandparents couldn't be there in person to attend family occasions and celebrate milestones with us. They were also instrumental in getting our family established on a farm in the Waikato.
Fast forward a couple of decades and as a mum of two young daughters I am familiar with the sense of isolation that comes with parenting young children and how this mirrors the way older people in our communities are feeling also. I feel so grateful for the loving relationships I have in my life and have found that the wonderful more-mature women within my personal support network have given me grounding and strength in own parenting journey and generally in life.
Currently I volunteer for Surrogate Grandparents as the Waikato Area Coordinator and I enjoy supporting Jo with other projects when I get the chance. I am passionate about intergenerational connections and am all about bringing people together. I love that volunteering for Surrogate Grandparents brings this all together for me and I especially enjoy running our play circle "Celebrating Ages".
Karen - Wellington
Hi all families and Grandies seeking connections in the Greater Wellington Area!
My name is Karen Anne and I’m your Wellington regional Coordinator for Surrogate Grandparents.
I’m looking forward to playing an active role in linking up families with Grandies. I’m also keen to organise some group activities as well so we can begin finding a solution to our experiences and feelings of isolation in the world today by closing generational gaps.
I work part time shifts for an airline and spend some spare time walking and house-sitting dogs. I also work in a very small voluntary role at a hospital emergency department. I’d love to find some more children and family to spend my other part time life with:) So yes I’m also available as a surrogate grandie!I adore babies and young children and have worked previously for many years as a Nanny which will stand me in very good stead for being “Grandie”.
I can’t wait to meet you all soon:)
Emma - Nelson
Hi, my name is Emma. I'm a mother of two beautiful girls aged 5 and 3. I'm, originally from the UK and my husband is from the USA so we have no family here in New Zealand. It's really hard sometimes bringing up a young family on the other side of the world to the rest of your family, but luckily I have the love and support of a lovely lady who is now a surrogate grandma to my girls. I wanted to get involved with the charity to help others in our situation find the joy we have from having a surrogate grandparent in our lives.
KATE - Christchurch
Hi I’m Kate, originally from South Africa and have been living in New Zealand for five years.
It was lonely not having family around when I gave birth to my daughter four years ago. I would look at my colleagues’ kids forming great relationships with their grandparents and didn’t want my daughter to miss out, so I found her some surrogate grandparents and I wanted to help other families and grandies combat loneliness and form lasting relationships with each other!”