QTI Member Articles

Monthly articles submitted by member organisations

Transforming Lives at Laidlaw

A donation for students with disabilities from Laidlaw College supporters was the helping hand paraplegic Bob Reynolds needed to turn his life around. That donation funded the first papers of his Certificate in Christian Studies at Laidlaw, and now Bob is studying towards a diploma enroute to a Bachelor of Counselling degree.

Small Bob ReynoldsBob (pictured here) is seeking to fulfil his dream of becoming a counsellor to troubled youth – a role he is already well-qualified for thanks to his own Once Were Warriors style upbringing. Raised around alcohol and violence, with gang members frequently in the house, he started experimenting with alcohol and glue sniffing at the age of 10, and by 12 had his own street gang.  Burglaries, car thefts, gang fights, and a steady progression into harder drugs followed. At 16, Bob was in Mt Eden Prison, awaiting sentence for aggravated robbery.  Neither a stint at Odyssey House or a move to Australia provided the hoped-for fresh start.

A month before his 30th birthday, Bob crashed into a bridge after a night of drinking, and was left paralysed from the waist down. But being confined to a wheelchair didn’t stop the crime. He used his large accident pay-out to start a heroin business, before being arrested for burglary and deported back to New Zealand.  A heroin addict, meth user, and drug dealer, Bob continued to spiral downhill, attempting suicide a number of times.

His first turning point came with the arrival of a Christian disability helper Raki, who encouraged Bob to come to church with him. At a church service in 2012, Bob had a dramatic encounter with God.  He went straight home and destroyed all his drug paraphernalia. Initially sceptical, 18 months down the track and family and friends started realising the change was for real. 

In 2014, Bob became a founding student at Laidlaw’s Manukau campus. Study was tough. He had no idea what an essay was, and wrote his first assignment five times before it passed.  His dedication to his study has been an inspiration to his fellow students. Bob now has a meaningful path to follow and a future to be excited about.







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