Today is Tuesday, 17th of October, 2017
We have three main areas of work; supported bail, mentoring, and programmes delivered in a camp setting.
Our youth service work is with those aged up to 17, to provide support, advocacy and mentoring for young people who have come into contact with the court system. Working with whānau and other support services, we want to resolve problems and get our youth back on track; often this means figuring out what track they want to be on and empowering them to work towards their goals.
We work with our rangatahi to explore some of the ‘tough stuff’ in their lives; the barriers to their own success, the things that get in the way of what they want to do with their lives, as well as finding opportunities to celebrate achievements. It’s all about positive role modelling; working alongside the young people to support pro-social attitudes and behaviour.
It’s all about building a trusting relationship; otherwise we’re not doing our job here. We need to prove we are on their side with our actions; just spending time, having fun, being a friend and an ally. The worst thing is when these youngsters try to make positive changes in their lives and nobody notices, nobody sees or nobody hears.
Celebrating success is therefore a major focus of our work. Mentoring is learning a new story about them, safe from the negative assumptions and expectations they are socialised to expect from people who come into their lives. People don’t want the naughty kids in their school or communities; there is a great sense of marginalisation and isolation, and these kids know it.
Youth camps are also an important part of our work. We run camps that are a chance to get out of the city and into nature where there are team-building activities and spaces for reflection and conversations about life. These camps provide an opportunity to cultivate a culture where we as a group look after one another and differences, such as opposing gang affiliations, disappear.
Camps provides an opportunity to take our youth out of negative and dis-empowering places into an intentional, supportive community that celebrates who they are. It’s also an opportunity to have fun and just enjoy being a young person, to run and scream and laugh. We get to see their true colours — not their gang colours. We see how truly kind, thoughtful, creative, intelligent and caring these kids are. It is a unique opportunity to build a deeper relationship and have conversations about life, who they are, who they want to be, and what they want to stand for.