Embracing Hearts Charitable Trust began with a conversation with Heart Kids Wellington in October 2018 about the urgent need to provide defibrillators (AEDs) to schools with heart kids as students.
In March 2019 Trustees, heart mum Emma Lawler and lawyer Jim Meates registered Embracing Hearts Charitable Trust. Much loved Kiwi comedian Dai Henwood agreed to be our Patron (how cool is that!) and retired accountant Pip Witkowski joined us as Treasurer.
We work very closely with the team at Wellington Free Ambulance and Heart Beat in the Wellington Region. They help coordinate with the schools, advise the best location for 24/7 lock boxes and provide free community education and maintenance of the AEDs. As we support schools all around New Zealand, we also work closely with the team at St John's Ambulance and ASB St John in Schools throughout the rest of the country. Their community connections, in particular with their many local Area Committees are nothing short of incredible. We also work with local representatives from Heart Kids NZ to ensure AEDs are given to schools with heart kids as students. We are so grateful to all of these community groups for their guidance, expertise and support.
66 Kiwi kids had a cardiac arrest in the 12 months between June 2019 and July 2020. From early 2020 to April 2021, Embracing Hearts AEDs were accessed 8 times. There were many more calls than that, but fortunately an AED was not required.
It is our intention to donate an AED to every school in New Zealand with a heart kid and our waiting list is regularly updated. When funding allows, we also donate a 24/7 lock box for the entire community or encourage schools to work with their community to add one. Every dollar raised goes towards AEDs, we are 100% volunteer operated, ensuring that our overhead costs remain at zero!!
Since July 2019, Embracing Hearts has donated 44 AEDs (soon to be 59!!) to preschools, schools, colleges and other learnin g facilities around New Zealand:
Kimi Ora Naenae, Hutt Valley (mounted in school office) July 2020
Ngahauranga Te Kohanga Reo, Tawa Dec 2020
Papakura Central School, Auckland (lock box not required) Oct 2020
Anderson's Bay, Dunedin Feb 2021
Newtown School, Wellington, Feb 2022
The Stables Montessori, Christchurch, (date TBC)
Titahi Bay North School, date TBC
AEDs with 24/7 lock box
Newlands Intermediate School, Wellington (self funded 24/7 lock box 2022)July 2019
Churton Park School, Wellington July 2019, 24/7 lockbox 2020
Karori Normal School, Wellington July 2019, 24/7 lockbox 2020
Island Bay School, Wellington (self funded 24/7 lock box) June 2020
St Mary's College, Wellington July 2019 (24/7 lock box 2020)
Worser Bay School, Wellington (24/7 lock box 2021) Nov 2019
Brookby School, Auckland (24/7 lock box Nov 2021) June 2020
Tamatea Intermediate School, Napier (24/7 lock box 2021) July 2020
Kaiapoi Borough School, Christchurch (24/7 lock box 2021) July 2020
Fernridge School, Masterton Aug 2020
Koruanui School, Hutt Valley Aug 2020
Plateau School, Hutt Valley Aug 2020
Redwood School, Christchurch Sept 2020
St Bernadette's School, Dunedin (self funded 24/7 lock box) July 2020
Elmwood School, Christchurch (self funded 24/7 lock box) July 2020
St Joseph's School, Hutt Valley Feb 2021
Kapakapanui School, Kapiti Feb 2021
Tairangi School, Porirua July 2021
Heretaunga College, Upper Hutt, Nov 2021
Matarau School, Whangarei, Dec 2021
Excellere College, Kamo, Feb 2022
Ngaio School, Wellington (privately funded 24/7 lock box) Mar 2022
Wellington Riding for the Disabled, (St John Wellington Area Committee funded lock box) Mar 202
St Brendan's School, Heretaunga, May 2022
Wakefield School, Tasman, July 2022
Michael Park School, Auckland, July 2022
Whangarei Girls' High School, Aug 2022
Papanui Primary School, Aug 2022
Wainuiomata Primary School, Aug 2022
St Francis Xavier School, Maryhill, Sept 2022
Dorie School, Rakia, Sept 2022
Wakari School, Dunedin, Aug 2022
Grantlea Downs School, Timaru, Aug 2022
Anderson's Bay School, Sept/Oct 2022
Balaclava School, Dunedin, Sept/Oct 2022
Insoll Avenue School, Hamilton, date TBC
Taonui School, Fielding, Sept/Oct 2022
Karori West Normal School, Wellington, Nov 2022
Masterton Intermediate School TBC
Otatara School, Southland, date TBC
Tokomaru School Palmerston North, Term 4 2022
AEDs with Cabinet
Hunua School, Auckland May 2021
Te Kura O Hau Karatu, Upper Hutt Nov 2021
Mt Roskill Primary School. Auckland, Feb 2022
Pegasus Bay School, Christchurch, (privately funded cabinet) Feb 2022
St Joseph's School, Kaikoura (self funded cabinet), Feb 2022
Arakura School, Wainuiomata, Mar 2022
Manaaki Ability Trust, Wellington, in loving memory of Chelsie Parsons, (self funded cabinet) Mar 2022
Henderson Valley School, Auckland, Mar 2022
Nestled Early Learning Centre, Christchurch, (date TBC)
Leithfield School, North Canterbury, date TBC
St Albans Catholic School, Christchurch, date TBC
24/7 lock box for existing AED
Taita College, Hutt Valley Mar 2021
Through our work with St John Ambulance, last year we received an incredible donation of 12 second hand AEDs (plus one we've agreed to share with anther enterprise supported by St John) from Precinct in Wellington! Some may need a battery or pads added for a small cost and an optional cabinet, but they are in great condition and are being given to schools and other organisations around New Zealand where an inside AED is appropriate (see our 2021 and 2022 tabs and our Facebook page)!
We hope that the AEDs we donate will never need to be used by heart kids or anyone else in their communities, but for families, whanau and teaching staff, having them on site offers immeasurable peace of mind.
We have a regularly updated working list of schools & other facilities with heart kids that are in need of an AED - see the 2022 tab on this website for the current list. As soon as funds are available we hope to say yes to every request that meets our criteria. If you would like your child's school or a child at your school to be considered, please email us with the name and contact information of the school, the name of the child and your details.
All decisions re donations of AEDs and 24/7 lock boxes are made with consultation with Heart Kids New Zealand Family Support Workers, Heart Beat at Wellington Free Ambulance or St John Ambulance and our Trustees.