Our People

Jane Thomas

Jane along with Graeme founded School Start First Impressions.

Jane comes from a background of volunteering and studying Theology with Child Poverty as her main topic. From these experiences the concept of assisting children turning 5 to start school with everything they need to feel they belong, and to set a great first impression on their first day, was designed.

“I love that SSFI is child centric, putting the child in the centre, honouring and valuing their importance in our community. In my opinion we are doing our best to prepare our young ones to embrace learning. All children deserve the chance to start school on an equal footing”.

Rae Blackwood

Rae was invited to be a trustee from the outset of the School Start First Impressions initiative. Rae’s skill set includes experience in the social development sector and business acumen.

Rae has a passion for children’s welfare.

Rae’s love and concern for the children is expressed in her creative birthday cakes that each of our School Start First Impressions children receive.

Graeme Thomas

Graeme is a co-founder of SSFI, having previously been involved in financial services until his retirement in 2014.

Graeme was a co-founder of Milford Asset Management in 2004 and had previously worked in the funds management and banking sectors.

Along with Jane he has had a long term interest in philanthropy and the opportunity to assist in the formation of SSFI was embraced.

“SSFI is a wonderfully rewarding charity to be a part of”.

Nikki de la Rosa
General Manager

It is with great pleasure that I have arrived at School Start First Impression to lead the organisation in its intended expansion and to support the kaupapa of the learning journey for tamariki who live in Aotearoa in a state of  inequity.

I am deeply committed to enhancing education for children and their families who have not necessarily had positive lived experiences in the education system.  It is my firm belief that transformational change for children can be achieved through robust investment from day one of school.

Our gift is one of aroha and it is intentional!

Lucy Thomas
Administration Manager

Lucy started volunteering for SSFI in October 2016.

Lucy plays an integral part of delivering the new inventory system to create efficiencies for SSFI and is currently undertaking our web redevelopment project.

Lucy is our greatest social capital contributor – all her hours are volunteered.

Lucy also manages our accounts and website and assists with marketing campaigns and operations.

“The work I do for SSFI is rewarding and satisfying. I love the fact we can help so many deserving children whilst being humble in our approach. The ‘feel good’ factor is addictive!”

Jana Thomas Administration Manager

It is with great honour that I have returned to School Start First Impressions, to assist our deserving, hard to reach tamariki.
I will be assisting the team where I can, to provide more children with the opportunity to have a great start at school. I believe starting school is a right of passage that should be celebrated.

William McIntosh