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Services Q&A

18 May, 2022

Services Q&A

CanTeen supports rangatahi impacted by cancer with a range of free support services, including individual support and therapy, delivered by our specially trained team of psychologists and social workers. We spoke with CanTeen social worker Sarai to hear more about her role and the impact it has on rangatahi we support.


What is your role at CanTeen? I’m a psychosocial support worker and I provide a therapeutic space for rangatahi to explore and process their cancer experience.

What is your background before CanTeen? My background is in therapeutic social work; I’ve spent time working in youth residential care, women’s health, and oncology fields.

Why did you want to work with rangatahi impacted by cancer? I think that rangatahi have different perspectives on the world and are often overlooked by services – too young for some, too old for others. Having cancer impact your life during a pivotal stage of development is MASSIVE! Working for CanTeen means that I am able to support rangatahi through this difficult experience, exploring and supporting their unique needs. CanTeen also promotes rangatahi needs in the wider cancer service landscape and it’s pretty great to be part of an organisation advocating for change.

What’s your favourite part of your role? I love this mahi – finding creative and helpful ways of supporting rangatahi through their cancer experience is my jam!

Why do you think your role is essential in supporting rangatahi? I think it’s helpful and important for rangatahi to have a safe independent space to process their experience. I feel like I can hold that space for them and encourage them as they grow. I want rangatahi to feel more empowered to cope and manage life’s challenges by the time they finish up with CanTeen – I hope that’s the impact I have.

What’s a special memory as a team member at CanTeen? Watching all the rangatahi come together at our Nailed It! Christmas event a few years back to decorate cupcakes. There was an amazing amount of creativity and humour being shared that day and it felt really special to be a part of it.

What are some interests outside of work? Have you ever been able to incorporate this into your role or work with rangatahi? I love making things with my hands – especially using fabric, yarn and thread. I believe everyone has a talent and a unique story to share and I enjoy being able to explore these with everyone I come in contact with – especially with rangatahi.

Learn more about CanTeen’s range of support services, including individual support and therapy.


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