Pillars was founded by Verna McFelin in 1988 and today she is proud that it has now developed into a national organisation upholding the rights of children of prisoners. For 32 years Verna she has worked tirelessly to lead Pillars and to advocate for the rights of children of prisoners.
Pillars punches above its weight in the international field of development policies and practices. Verna was instrumental in creating the Children Bill of Rights for children who have a parent in prison.
Verna is proud to say that she has now a team of specialist staff delivering Pillars services throughout New Zealand. But she feels the real heroes of the programmes are our volunteers who give up their weekends and spare time to mentor hundreds of children who are facing some of the most challenging and difficult times in their lives.
Verna’s dream, she believes, is easily realised. “There are 23,000 children who have a parent in prison in New Zealand. They are 9.5 times likely to end up in prison than their peers. Mentor these children and we could halve New Zealand’s crime rate in 10 years!”