My name is Jim To’o Filiva’a Stretton and I joined Le Va in January 2022 as a Youth Project Coordinator for the youth wellbeing programme. I am of Samoan and European descent and I hail from the villages of Saleimoa, Iva and Salelologa. I am married to the beautiful Naomi Stretton and we are the proud parents of our only son who is also named Jim.
My passion for youth comes from my mother, Luamanuvae Ruth Lavalea Stretton, currently the Deputy Principal of Otahuhu College, and my father, Leatigaga Jim Stretton, who has worked for over 30 years in education as a Director of Te Kura O Waipuna, an activity centre for troubled youth. The impact they have had on our community is second to none and everything has been done with grace and humility.
Prior to joining Le Va I worked in schools and have always developed strong relationships with our youth. Some of the proudest moments in my career have not been on a stage receiving awards, but by being a role model for our youth to look up to. There is so much untapped potential in our Pasifika youth and to see their potential unfold is one of the greatest blessings I have had the privilege to witness.
I have always admired the work that Le Va does as they address the deeper issues our communities face. I appreciate the safe space they provide for our Pasifika people. I am excited to be a part of an organisation that helps to create change.
I pray that I can one day look back at the end of my career and see that I have affected change in a way that would make my parents proud.