By: Jaden McLeod

Astrid Martin has been changing the lives of young New Zealanders for more than two decades.

She began working as a Life Education educator in the mid-nineties, covering both the Eastern and Western Bay of Plenty.

Last week, she was presented with a Life Membership award for her long service.

“It was actually very emotional. I was very surprised,” she said.

“When you are involved in doing something for your community and you love it so much, you don’t think about time or money.

“You simply have this passion and that is always what drives you.”

The award went to Martin for her tireless work with more than 50,000 Bay of Plenty students.

“You pretty much pick up on the children that need encouragement, who need to be told that they are special and unique.

“They only have to see that a couple of times and all of a sudden this new little being morphs.

“Instead of being at the end of the line to come in, on day two they come in at the front,” Martin said.

“To see that transformation is incredible.

“To talk to children about what is good for their bodies, and then see them come to school the next day with an apple in their lunchboxes, you know you are making a difference.”

During her time as chairperson, she was able to secure $300,000 in funding, which allowed the trust to purchase a second mobile classroom.

Although no longer working with Life Education, Martin says years on she is still recognised.

“I’ve got people saying to me, who are now adults, that they still remember Harold – that there are 504 bones in the body.

“That’s what gives me a real buzz.”

Life Education Western Bay of Plenty is a voluntary trust that raises $120,000 a year to educate kids at more than 40 schools around the region.

Source: NZ Herald


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