The WaterBoy’s mantra is simple: Stronger people. Stronger communities.
The Hamilton-based foundation is creating stronger communities through helping Kiwi kids with their personal development.
While the WaterBoy are not a sports charity, they believe sport is a great vehicle for creating stronger people, and promote all personal development activity. Whether it’s social participation or high-level competitive games, there are countless positives with kids playing sport. It builds self-confidence, helps with social skills and leadership skills, it keeps kids fit and active, teaches them to respect others and helps with self-esteem.
The WaterBoy founder Thomas Nabbs believes every Kiwi kid should have the opportunity to play sports. But for many, this is not the case. Many families are struggling and cannot afford for their children to play sports. They can’t afford the fees, or new boots or have a means of transport to get to training and games. Nabbs says for many, homes – food, shelter and heat – take priority over sports.
Nabbs turned to Waikato businesses for help in sponsoring kids to help contribute to personal development activities and the support was overwhelming.
He asks business owners why they are in business and they often say, “to make money and contribute to their community”. Sponsoring a Kiwi kid is a great way to help give back to the community and businesses can physically see how they are making a difference in that child’s life through giving them the opportunity to play sport.
The foundation is different from your traditional charities and is a fantastic marketing platform for businesses. It’s a cross-over from marketing and philanthropy. It’s a great way to help businesses live and show their values. It’s a great way to thank their staff for their hard work and their customers for their business, otherwise they wouldn’t have that extra resource to contribute to a better, stronger community.
A great partnership is formed between the businesses and the children when both parties meet. The foundation captures this by putting together a short video, showing the connection and reaction with both the sponsor and the kid who are given the opportunity to play sports.
Big name businesses such as Blue Wallace Surveyors, Craig’s Investment Partners, Good George, Manta5 and sporting partners Waikato and Bay of Plenty Magic Netball and Waikato Rugby Union have been instrumental into helping kids’ dreams of playing sport become a reality.
The WaterBoy teamed up with Blue Wallace Surveyors and other local businesses to share Anaru’s story of how they gave him the opportunity to partake in trampoline and soccer. He received some new gear including boots, clothing and a new bike and helmet to get around to his practices.
Anaru Williams was raised by his Nan, and was then fostered to his Aunty after his Nan passed away. He said money isn’t easy to come by with the amount of kids to care for in his home.
He’s living with 15 other people in the household of a three-bedroom home in Hamilton. He had never played sport and was excited to be given the opportunity to try new sports and give everything a go.
Blue Wallace Surveyors directors Murray Wallace and Tony Tynan said it’s nice to play a part in giving kids a helping hand. They said it’s all thanks to their staff and clients.
“This is the resources of our customers that give us the means to do something like this. It’s nice to be able to use company resources to use the funds we get a hold of through our world to do something good,” Wallace said.
Tynan said, “it would be nice to think that this whole system is giving kids a bit of a hand up and helping them rescue their early years. ”
Craig’s Investment Partners has also played a huge part in helping kids through The WaterBoy foundation. They teamed with other Waikato businesses and helped Kailani Mitchell, 12, fulfill her dream to play rugby – with the hopes of becoming a Black Fern and go to the Olympics one day.
She has a passion for rugby, training hard and keeping fit, but her busy household with other siblings made it hard for her mum to afford fees, rugby essentials and take her to trainings.
Craig’s Investment Partners investment advisor Steve Laurie said they specialise in investments, and its investment in kids who are going to be the future.
“The skills that they learn and develop playing sport can actually transfer over later in life.”
He also thanked their customers for their support which enabled them to help deserving kids, like Kailani to participate in sport.
Five years on, what started as a side project worked on at night has turned into a full-time role for Nabbs. The foundation has over 60 sponsors and is constantly growing with more businesses coming on board as sponsors. It also has a small team of full-time employees and around 20 volunteers.
They’ve helped many kids participate in sports from rugby, netball and soccer, to boxing, athletics, martial arts and hockey.
Other barriers to participating in sport include disability, confidence, sexual orientation, age, gender and religion. The WaterBoy helps to create initiatives to break down those barriers and give them the opportunity to play sport. They also support more than sport and will consider any activity that helps promote personal growth and development.
“I’m a firm believer that we’ve got to create an environment for our children to thrive and grow in. And those kids were missing out on so many opportunities to grow and be strong, to reach their potential through the skills they learned in sport,” Nabbs said.
For more stories and more information on how you can sponsor Kiwi kids through participating in sport, visit www.thewaterboy.org.nz/.
Thomas Nabbs, Director
021 022 9078, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jay Ballantyne, Income Activator
022 306 9051, email@example.com