Social Good

Charmeyne does What Ever it Takes

Positive Influence - January 2015

After facing the challenge of a family trauma, Charmeyne used the joy and companionship of team sport to foster leadership and inclusiveness in her community.

Sometimes life is so hard you will do whatever it takes to get through. And that is what Charmeyne Te Nana-Williams did in 2005 when she established What Ever It Takes Home Based Rehabilitation and Support Services.

Devastated by a traumatic brain injury that left her husband, Peter, almost entirely paralysed and unable to speak after a boxing match, Charmeyne was then inspired by Peter’s courage and determination as he fought his disability and learnt to communicate again by moving his big toe. She did whatever it took to ensure that Peter, and others with similar injuries, got the care they needed and deserved. In the process she became a champion of hope in her community by establishing the What Ever It Takes Charitable Trust to create social, sporting, recreational and team building activities for her clients and their families.

One such activity is the What Ever It Takes Netball Club, which fosters the ethos of building leadership and inclusiveness through the joy and companionship of team sport.

"A lot of kids in this situation where there is an acquired injury or disability don't get the opportunity to be involved in sport, so sport was always going to be our vehicle for trying to get these kids involved in something”, says Charmeyne.

She saw a friend post about the ANZ Netball Grant Scheme on Facebook, and applied for it herself. The Scheme offers annual grants to players and fans for the enjoyment of the game of netball. In 2014, ANZ awarded 120 Netball Grants to groups across New Zealand, totalling $100,000. One of these was What Ever It Takes Charitable Trust. They were awarded $2,000 for travel, registration fees, equipment and training.

“The money went toward the registration of the teams, but it also went towards little scholarships for some of those really disadvantaged kids. We would give them $100 and half of that had to go toward their fees and then the other half they had to budget out in terms of what they needed to buy in order to be able to play netball”.

In recognition of the fact that one of the most significant barriers to participation was the simple fact of getting to and from the games and training, a portion of the funding went towards transport for those who couldn’t be there otherwise.

“Some of the girls’ parents just can't physically drop them off. The girls have got so much potential, but they're limited by the fact that they can't participate. Sport is a way out for them, but they can't get to sport so our role becomes picking them up and bringing them to sport and taking them home again.”

What began as a simple idea, quickly snowballed. It started with one team, then two, then three and once the players’ families saw what Charmeyne was up to, they were often inspired to become more involved themselves. “It was quite amazing because all these parents just thought it was a really cool idea. It's very unusual that you see a netball team where the dads are coaching and playing”, she says.

Charmeyne has also seen first-hand how the experience of being part of a team has impacted some of the girls, who might never have been able to play in the first place if not for the grant.

“One of the girls comes from a family of ten and she's developed an amazing attitude. She's like a thoroughbred, honestly, she’s got amazing potential. But what she's chosen to do is play down in the second team to help develop the kids. She's actually sacrificed her ability to go and play rep to develop these younger kids, so she's an amazing girl.”

Ultimately, the What Ever It Takes Netball Club is about acknowledging that everybody has a struggle and giving people the tools that enable them to overcome their circumstances and achieve their ambitions, whether that be by playing rep or paying it forward by helping others.

“You develop values based on the environment that you're brought up in and you hope that through the example that you're setting, that your own kids and the kids around you will learn from that as well. It’s not just about winning, it’s about participating and having fun and encouraging the young women to be leaders. We really want them to be good role models, so it's all about setting an example and using sport as the vehicle to do that.”

charmeyne-team.jpg
The team planning their next move at a regular club session

She's like a thoroughbred, honestly, she’s got amazing potential. But what she's chosen to do is play down in the second team to help develop the kids. She's actually sacrificed her ability to go and play rep to develop these younger kids, so she's an amazing girl.”

In recognition of the fact that one of the most significant barriers to participation was the simple fact of getting to and from the games and training, a portion of the funding went towards transport for those who couldn’t be there otherwise.

“Some of the girls’ parents just can't physically drop them off. The girls have got so much potential, but they're limited by the fact that they can't participate. Sport is a way out for them, but they can't get to sport so our role becomes picking them up and bringing them to sport and taking them home again.”

What began as a simple idea, quickly snowballed. It started with one team, then two, then three and once the players’ families saw what Charmeyne was up to, they were often inspired to become more involved themselves. “It was quite amazing because all these parents just thought it was a really cool idea. It's very unusual that you see a netball team where the dads are coaching and playing”, she says.

Charmeyne has also seen first-hand how the experience of being part of a team has impacted some of the girls, who might never have been able to play in the first place if not for the grant.

“One of the girls comes from a family of ten and she's developed an amazing attitude. She's like a thoroughbred, honestly, she’s got amazing potential. But what she's chosen to do is play down in the second team to help develop the kids. She's actually sacrificed her ability to go and play rep to develop these younger kids, so she's an amazing girl.”

Ultimately, the What Ever It Takes Netball Club is about acknowledging that everybody has a struggle and giving people the tools that enable them to overcome their circumstances and achieve their ambitions, whether that be by playing rep or paying it forward by helping others.

“You develop values based on the environment that you're brought up in and you hope that through the example that you're setting, that your own kids and the kids around you will learn from that as well. It’s not just about winning, it’s about participating and having fun and encouraging the young women to be leaders. We really want them to be good role models, so it's all about setting an example and using sport as the vehicle to do that.”